I'll give Marina Anderson's "Desire", the first installation of "The Dining Club" serial novel, the benefit of the doubt. It intrigues me enough to continue, and the writing is much better than many serial novels of its type, but I'll admit I'm not taken by the story yet, because it's not vetted enough in its beginnings.
I'll admit the way that I personally read a serial novel is much like my experience trying out a TV drama (or TV show in general) for the first time - the pilot has to have enough to hook me, even when I may not know much about where the story will go. For example, in the ABC series "Revenge" - Emily Thorne (real name: Amanda) is a young woman who takes on another name to get revenge on the family she holds responsible for her father's death - the Graysons. It gives you a character to identify, a palpable conflict, a motivation to move against said conflict, and something of an ending to leave it standing on its own, but yet giving a branch point to move into something that adds to the conflict.
A serial novel in its initial turns that's done well usually has my utmost respect because it's very difficult to fit these elements in - the pressure's to keep the reader pulled in for the next installation. Matter in point, people who do this well know how to economize their words to fit in a limited space, but give the reader enough to gain and hold their interest through the narrative. Anderson does a great job with the turns of natural dialogue in this work and setting up the scenario, but I'll admit I wasn't necessarily pulled into the characters and their motivations here. It wasn't as threadbare as some titles of this genre I've picked up, but it wasn't developed as much as it could've been for stakes and conflict.
Grace and David are the couple we start following in this story, and I'll admit neither one of them really stood out for a beginning. For an erotic story, I think conveying intimacy (not just physical intimacy) is important in terms of the character experience. I got the measure that Grace is happy with her life and she loves David, but is thrown by the fact that he's unsatisfied with their sexual relationship. That may be all well and good for conflict, but given David's personality, he comes across as a shallow jerk, and it's difficult to see what Grace sees in him, and he to her given his brash reactions. Grace is hurt by him uprooting to take her to this well-to-do club called "The Dining Club" to explore their sexual options, but somehow - I'm still trying to find what the story was in this particular beginning. I think it could've been much stronger than what it was, despite me being pulled along by the flow of the dialogue and the descriptions.
I have up to part five of this respective series, and I bought this off Amazon so that I could have an idea of where this began. I think the start could've been a bit stronger, but I'm willing to see where it goes from here.
Overall score: 2/5 stars