The Protégé by Brianna Hale
Released: July 27, 2018
Genre: Taboo Romance
Publisher: Brianna Hale
Reviewed by Keyrsten
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.
There were two moments in Isabeau's life that changed the course of her life for the better, whether she knew it in the moment. The first took place when she was 8 years old busking with her cello in a not so nice neighborhood of London. The second took place on her 18th birthday when she finally gave into her feelings for her guardian. It's been 3 years since her 18th birthday and the guilt she feels for how that night ended has eaten away at her. She's feeling lost and out of touch with herself, craving the stern guidance of her first love, her guardian. She wants nothing more than to be his protégé again, but can their relationship be repaired after everything that happened?
Laszlo was 25 when he was appointed the youngest conductor of the Royal London Symphony, but that wasn't the only memorable moment that year. One day while walking down the street he heard the beautiful sounds of a cello and he was determined to find the musician to train them as part of his orchestra, but he was surprised to find the sounds coming from an 8 year old girl busking on the corner. Situations led Laszlo to take Isabeau under his wing as his prodigy and her guardian. When she turned 16 he started noticing he had feelings he shouldn't have for a girl 17 years his younger. He did everything he could to distance himself from her, but he didn't expect on her 18th for her to make a move on him. The way that night ended has been tormenting him for 3 years. He'll do whatever Isabeau asks and be her Dom, even if she never wants anything more from him than his discipline. He needs her in his life.
I have to admit I was a tad hesitant about the age gap and DDLG type of bond to form with Laszlo taking Isabeau in at 8 years old, but the more I read the more it made sense for that to be the next evolution of their relationship. The flashbacks are what did it for me. Seeing how they each grew into their relationship with each other was eye opening and left me rooting for them. Isabeau had been in love with Laszlo since the day she met him, and it grew as every year passed. Laszlo fought the feelings with all he had, and after 3 years apart he will be anything Isabeau needs as long as it means he can be in her life. Their time a part seemed like a curse to them both, but I think in the end it ended up being a blessing for them. Isabeau was allowed to grow into her womanhood and I think it was good for her to find out who she could be outside of being his protégé. Laszlo needed that time to evaluate his changing feelings for her and gave him the realizations that he wanted her in his life no matter what.
This type of relationship is taboo from the get go, but Brianna was able to navigate it with such grace and bravado that I never doubted that they shouldn't be together. She wasn't afraid to give you the ugly with the bad and I applaud her for that. It allows you to see the many different facets of this lifestyle and take it all in. You see how they deal with not only this new development with each other, but how others will react. There are always going to be people who have something to negative to say about it, but all that matters at the end of the day is how they feel about it.
The progression of the DDLG relationship felt natural and was portrayed accurately. She needed his discipline to center her. She needed his nurturing and care. She needed to be his submissive. The total power exchange isn't about some egotistical alpha schtick, it's about guiding the person out of care and affection so that they can be their best person. There is always so much love and care that goes into Laszlo's discipline, and he is so attuned to her and what she needs. This goes both ways because being his submissive allows Isabeau to nurture the side of him that craves the power exchange. She submits to him not because she feels like she has to but because she trusts him and wants to give him her all, including her most vulnerable side.
The love and devotion they have for one another is breath taking and all consuming. Laszlo put it best when describing their love, "Isabeau is happy, and I have her love. Keeping it, being deserving of it, that is all that matters to me. That is everything."
Rating: 5 stars
Give me an alpha male with a woman who aces all forms of sarcasm and I'm putty in you hands -- bonus points if a Reverse Harem is involved. Supernatural esque romance and power plays tend to make my heart go pitter patter. I haven't met a book I wasn't willing to try, so if you've got recommendations email them my way. I'm a foul mouthed makeup addicted with slight wino tendencies.