I get a lot of fic recommendations on Twitter–yes, I’m blessed with a great feed. A few weeks ago, I saw a lot of tweets about a one-shot called To Be Seen, To Belong by reylo_addict. I gave it a read, almost on a whim, and was blown away.
To Be Seen, To Belong is a boss/employee relationship that manages to be incredibly tender and soft while also being steamy and hot. Ben is Rey’s boss, and they’re sleeping together. Through the story, we see glimpses of how Rey comes to see that Ben really and truly loves her, and that she feels the same. This epiphany is shown through such beautiful scenes of the two of them being vulnerable with each other. The authenticity really shines through the writing and I was so moved reading this fic.
Part of Rey’s journey in To Be Seen, To Belong is learning to acknowledge that she has desires and that those desires can be met. She can need things. Her growth in the story reminds me of the heroine’s arc in Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas. Ella Varner’s perfectly practical life is interupted when her sister has a baby and leaves him in her care suddenly. Ella soon finds herself falling for her nephew as well as Jack Travis, a well-to-do bachelor suspected of being her nephew’s father. Ella soon realizes the risks and rewards of allowing herself to want and be wanted.
Another book with a similar theme of the heroine accepting her full self and owning what she wants and needs is A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore. Lady Lucie is a suffragette fighting for equality in historical England. Her entire life is one in devotion to her cause. She makes an “arrangement” with Lord Tristan Ballantine to advance the Cause, but then finds herself feeling and wanting, and is unsure how to move forward.