Title: The Protégé
Author: Brianna Hale
Genre: Taboo Romance
Release Date: July 27, 2018
He’s always protected me since I was eight years old, the neglected girl he took off the street and raised as his own. Laszlo can feel what music needs instinctively. He can tell what I need.
My world shattered the night of my eighteenth birthday and he still hasn’t forgiven me for what I did. I’m not asking him to love me, touch me, take me to bed. What I want goes deeper than that and I have to say this out loud because it’s one thing that music won’t be able to tell him.
I want what only Laszlo can give me. I want to be his protégé again. And this time, I’m going to be so good for him.
I like my romance a bit on the fluffy side. I enjoy romantic comedies, and sweet love stories. I don’t mind a good cry every now and then. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always adored YA contemporary romances. The more sugary sweet and sappy the better. However, every once in a while, I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something a little different. A bit darker. Something that might make me a tad uncomfortable, but also push me to better understand those around me. The Protégé was just the kind of read I was looking for.
Exquisitely written, The Protégé is not only dark, but forbidden. Thirteen years ago, Isabeau Laurent was taken off the dirty streets of London to come and live with Laszlo Valmary, a renowned conductor with the London symphony. The daughter of a troubled drug addict, Isabeau is talented far beyond her young years, and Laszlo takes great satisfaction in helping to shape her love of music and in saving her from the life she faced at the hands of her father. As Isabeau grows up before Laszlo’s eyes, a desire overtakes him to possess her mind, body, and soul. He wishes to call her his in every shape of the word. However, when it appears that these thoughts may come to fruition, Laszlo pushes Isabeau away, causing a deep rift that will drive the two musicians apart for years to come.
As the pages of the story unfold, a slow burn romance emerges into a love story that both pulled on my heart strings, and blew my mind. Powerful, moving, and completely riveting, Brianna Hale’s writing created a dom/sub story that broke apart my heart, while simultaneously sewing it back together. These two lovers were so incredibly written that I was lost in their love story. Set against the backdrop of the classical music scene, The Protégé was a whirlwind of emotions accumulating in one of the most superb romances I’ve read this year.
One of the things that I struggle with in dark romance is a hero who appears to be cruel, and beyond the point of love. The dom/sub relationships seem to be a vehicle for abuse, rather than the foundation of a strong, loving relationship that helps to guide the sub to be their best person. However, Hale’s biggest strength is instead writing a hero that is dark and dominant, but also truly kind and caring. He had an enormous heart, bringing a young, scared 8 year old girl to live with him, creating a safe, warm, and loving environment for her to grow up in. He nurtured Isabeau like a father, giving her a strong foundation to succeed at life. Even in his darkest struggles when he realized that he was slowly falling in love with her, Laszlo tries his hardest to not hurt Isabeau and to keep her feelings his top priority.
The Protégé is beautifully written, wildly sexy, and incredibly moving. This book has pushed Brianna Hale to my auto buy list, and I cannot recommend this truly moving love story enough.
4.5 Completely Moving Stars!!
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There’s nothing Brianna Hale likes more than a large, stern alpha male with a super-protective and caring streak, and when she’s not writing about them she can usually be found with a book, a cocktail, planning her next trip to a beautiful location or attending the theatre. She believes that pink and empowerment aren’t mutually exclusive, and everyday adventures are possible. Brianna lives in London.