The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

Camilla can set her watch by her hunky rocket-scientist neighbor who jogs past her window each day. She relishes each glimpse of his shirtless abs, and is dying to see more. But it’s hard to connect with a man who doesn’t seem to know she exists…

Ivan feels at home in the lab, not in social situations. When he finally approaches his attractive neighbor, it’s not for a date – he wants tutoring in how to behave at an important fundraiser. Ivan doesn’t expect the chemistry between them to be quite so explosive, and is surprised when Cami actually accepts his proposal to embark on a series of “lessons”.

Cami soon discovers Ivan’s schedule isn’t the only thing he likes to be strict about – he needs to be charge in the bedroom as well. She’s shocked at how much she comes to enjoy her submissive side, but wonders if a real relationship is in the equation…


I’m firstly going to admit that I read this book in one sitting. So it is not a bad book by my standards if it kept me glued to the pages so well. However, after I’ve now slept on it, I can’t really pinpoint what exactly kept me interested in the storyline except maybe insomnia.

The two main characters are Camilla, a computer geek who is really a social anthropologist, and Ivan, a rocket scientist. The issue at hand is Ivan’s social awkwardness, his inability to socialize and act normally in everyday situations. Camilla and Ivan are neighbours and friends and it comes as no surprise that Ivan asks her to help him prepare for a fundraiser where he is expected to mingle and convince people with deep pockets that they should fund his research. Oh, did I mention that Camilla is attracted to Ivan and wants his body? So things happen, the attraction is apparently mutual and we then find out that Ivan is a … Dom?! We are led to think that he has borderline Asperger’s (my guess) in everything he does, except in the bedroom where he becomes dominant, confident, totally in-sync with the woman’s feelings and desires. Sort of a cross between Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and Christian Grey … ? I won’t pretend to know that much about Asperger’s but I found it hard to believe that a person with those traits could in fact be into BDSM. I don’t know much about BDSM either except what I have (extensively) read about it, and it all just did not add up. And then the female character simply goes for it, he tells her to undress, kneel down and call him ‘Sir’ after he pretty much told her he was a Dom 5 seconds ago and what does she do? What any normal woman who just found out that her socially inept friend/neighbour is into BDSM would do, of course! She undresses and kneels in from of him. In a lab. At night. Pfffff…  I did not “buy it”.

I have no problem “buying it” when it comes to fantasy, heck, I’ll even start believing in vampires when the story calls for it, but it bugged me that this story was meant to be about a “real” situation between two “real” characters, so it was inevitable that we, as readers, would try to get into their psyche. So I found it difficult to like the characters since I did not understand them.

My other objection was the storyline itself. There is only one major event in the book – Ivan’s fundraising event. Nothing else. Dates here and there and … sex. Nothing else. The dialogues are scarse, thin, and used as fillers in between the sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong here, I do like those sexy times scenes but there needs to be more. That can’t be it. Ivan introduces Camilla more and more to his (very mild) BDSM tastes and she simply follows. He tells her to trust him and she just… does.

So the fundraiser happens, Ivan shows off his amazing new social skills, gets his funding, Camilla is so proud of him – “My baby’s walking on his own.” – but she finally has an issue with it all – Ivan is not introducing her to all his colleagues as his ‘girlfriend’! Well, I guess if I had gone all down and kinky with a guy for a month, no questions asked, allowed him to spank me because I did not address him as ‘Sir’ or ‘Professor’, tie me to beds and do all sorts of unspeakable things to my body, heck, I would be pissed off as well if he didn’t call me Queen of Sheeba!

The ending was just like the rest of the story – unlikely. Ivan is meant to have an epiphany, finally understand Camilla, why her feelings are hurt, he “hypothesizes” that he loves her and we have our nice little happy ending. Oh yeah, and another sex scene. Just for kicks.

Do I recommend reading this? Sure, enjoy the kink. Will this be one of those memorable books that I’ll remember and think about for a while? Unlikely. But I’m still giving it 3 stars because ultimately I did enjoy reading it, my issues with it only started once I started analysing it, and maybe this is one of those books that is not meant to be analysed.




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