Claire Elliot is a psychologist and college professor. Upon assigning a research paper on the subject of Stockholm syndrome, Claire sets to take her Spring break vacation in the sun but a certain student has his own method of conducting research for his homework.
“I believe, and this is just my theory, that if a person is able to understand the mechanics of how Stockholm works, a person can take steps to prevent it from occurring within them if they find themselves in an abusive or captive situation.”
Holland Strong is a psychology major but college isn’t his only education, as he is training to be a Master under an ultra secret society of men who are engaged human sex slavery. Upon receiving a new order for a courtesan, Holland sets his sights on his teacher, Ms. Elliot, knowing she will be a challenge to train.
“She was mine to play with for the next month, at least, and I swore to myself that I’d have her in every way possible.”
Upon being abducted, Claire is thrust into a world where submission and service is her only priority. Relying on her experience and knowledge, Claire tries to forge a connection with her captors in the hopes that she can escape their cruelty only to be punished for her tactics. Trying to retain her sense of self becomes difficult with the constant physical and psychological pain and degradation.
“I wanted to be the man who eventually tamed her, but most of all; I wanted the feeling of power that came with owning a woman as beautiful, intelligent and strong as her.”
Though Claire is Holland’s courtesan in training, he is not a full-fledged Master and must adhere to the rules and methods employed by his trainer, Aiden Oliver – the most revered Master within the society. Under Aiden’s tutelage, Holland feels compelled to please his teacher but his naivety leads to further unexpected complications compounded by his feelings for Claire. With Aiden’s ominous and far-reaching control, Claire’s training takes to new levels of manipulation with broad sweeping consequences.
“To me, he was the epitome of evil. In that regard, however, he was the example of what a Master strives to become: no morality, no pity and no empathy for the people he trained, both Courtesans and other Masters.”
As this story unfolds, it is tense and grim from the beginning because Claire’s fate is so bleak and at times it becomes a question of how bad it’s going to get rather than wondering if she is going to escape. Reading how Claire’s psyche is eroded is disturbing but also darkly intriguing how she chooses to combat her circumstance. I admired Claire’s strength during such abuse and her emotions were palpable. Plus, her relationship with Holland provided for an interesting dynamic with their teaching roles reversing at times.
“This wasn’t a life that I would have expected for myself, but like any living creature that was intent on survival, I learned to adapt.”
Getting back to Aiden. He is sadistic, arrogant, predatory and quite the antagonist. His role in His Master’s Teacher is critical and his character in this series remains uncompromised. Upon realizing Aiden’s role in this book, I knew my limits would be tested again and this time I was able to appreciate his unwavering evilness as a true villain.
In Her Master’s Teacher, Lily White successfully writes about a world where immorality and corruption rule and she isn’t afraid to make her readers cringe at times. Told in dual POV, the narrative enables the reader to feel a spectrum of emotions and really understand the psychological and corporeal components these characters endure.
For those who do not have any triggers and thrive in the unknown elements of the darkside, I highly recommend Her Master’s Teacher!