Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Night by Tawni Katherine Bonds (crossdressing erotica)

As The Night so wonderfully and creatively demonstrates, Tawni Katherine Bonds is an author who clearly understands the cross dressing experience . . . and who shares that fantasy of being female. I originally enjoyed this about six years ago when it was first released in its original edition, but with an expanded edition available, I wanted to give it another read and freshen up my review.

The first third of the novel captures the thrill, the exhilaration, and the fear of crossdressing so well. It's about the physical sensations of material and fit, the visual stimulation of seeing the feminine in the mirror, and the whole attitude of descending into a personal different from what the world sees. Bonds does a lovely job of taking us inside Richard's head, allowing us to share in what he’s thinking and feeling, especially in regards to the love notes slipped under his door. The battle there between body and mind, joy and terror, hope and dread, was exquisite.

There is a scene where Alex, the beautiful goddess of his dreams, leads Richard across a crowded hotel floor, and it may be one of the best takes on that internal battle I have ever read. Richard is terrified, assuming the worst, and convinced that people are staring because they have made him as a man. He mistakes their looks of lust and admiration for disgust and ridicule. It is an all too familiar situation for a crossdresser, a fear that never entirely goes away, but the way Bonds captures the slow realization of the truth of the situation is just lovely.

The whole relationship dynamic between Alex and Richard/Heather is an erotic mystery, one that leaves us wondering what Alex knows, how she knows it, and what her intentions are. It is exciting, but carries that undercurrent of fear, which makes it exhilarating. She challenges Heather and forces her to confront her desires - not forced feminization, but forced sexualization. It is a heady read, and the panic and dread feel as real as the orgasmic pleasures that wait beyond. As Heather allows herself to become involved in intimate, erotic games of bondage and sensuality, Alex empowers her to express the woman inside.

I won’t spoil the ‘how’ or the ‘why’ of the book's major twist, except to say that the way it allows us to slip from fantasies to fantasy is delightful. It is a dreamy, surreal sort of twist, one that carries as much wonder as humor, but it is what ultimately allows Heather to feel comfortably complete. As for the final chapter, it takes the story in yet another direction, one that excited me to no end.

The Night is that rare breed of story, one that truly blends the allure of cross dressing with the appeal of femininity. Highly recommended.

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