The Stolen Luck is a gorgeous book that takes a difficult topic and treats it with sensitivity and care to create a beautiful romance with not a trace of squick. James’ family has benefitted for years from an Elven talisman called “The Luck”. When it is stolen, James wins an elven slave in a card game and promises to free the slave if the slave will guide James into the Elven realms to retrieve The Luck. James deeply abhors slavery, and he promises himself that he will treat the slave, whose name is Loren, well. But honorable though James may be, the taint of slavery makes it impossible for James and Loren to trust one another.
One thing I liked about this book is that it didn’t take the shortcut of showing that slavery is bad because slaves are mistreated, although it is established that they often are. James doesn’t mistreat Loren – and guess what. Slavery? STILL BAD. The master/slave relationship is not eroticized or glorified. As long as Loren is a slave, neither he nor James can be happy – Loren, because he lives at the whim of another, and James, because he has violated his dearest principals.
The romance works because the couple is given time to get to know one another well, time to interact with a variety of people and in a variety of situations. It also works because both parties change and grow. I read this book with a great deal of trepidation but it left me with good book sigh. A full length review is at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.