Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna

Thursday, October 17

Title: Unbound*
Author: Cara McKenna
Series: n/a
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: InterMix
Format: e-book, & Audio book
Date/Year: October 15, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

An all-new novel from the author of After Hours. 

She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.

Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…

Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.

My Musings:

In a genre filled with dominant billionaire alpha heroes, Cara McKenna’s UNBOUND bucks the current trend with one of the most wonderfully developed beta heroes I’ve ever read and a fully realized heroine more than capable of giving him exactly what he needs, even at possible cost to her own future happiness.

Merry’s life has been turned upside down by the death of her beloved mother and her own dramatic weight loss. Not knowing what to do next, she decides that a solo hike through her mother’s home country of Scotland will be an excellent way to make a break between the old and the new, and perhaps come to some conclusions about her future. Everything is going great until Merry drinks the wrong sort of water and in her weakened state, literally stumbles across the cottage in the middle of nowhere where Rob is hiding from the world.

Rob has a whole list of very good reasons why he’s deliberately isolated himself from everything and everyone, and those reasons don’t go away just because a nosy and overly talkative young lass from America can’t leave him be. But Merry likes his looks and demeanor, and is determined to discover why such a soft spoken and good looking man would want to be a hermit. As their mutual curiosity soon grows into desire, it’s not certain whether Rob and Merry are prepared to handle the aftermath when all the secrets he’d hoped were buried forever begin to emerge.

I’m not sure how I can discuss how much I loved this book without sounding like the worst sort of fangirl. Cara McKenna is near the top of my auto-buy list and when I found out she was writing the story of a beta hero who was also a hermit, I knew this was a story I needed to read. One of the things I loved about UNBOUND was that although Merry’s extreme weight loss was part of the motivation for her trek through Scotland, it wasn’t a major focal point in the book, as so often happens with this type of character development. Compared to Rob, Merry is actually in a good place emotionally, which is how she’s able to recognize Rob’s melancholy and help him get past his sense of shame in confronting his deepest desires. It’s Rob who ultimately makes this a five star read for me, as Cara McKenna slowly uncovers why he needed to hide and how Merry helps him see that it’s time to embrace civilization -- and love -- once again. Their love story is both passionate and poignant, and the ending made me cry. UNBOUND is a perfect example of why Cara McKenna continues to be one of the best writers working in any genre today.


Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level:  4
(D/s role-play including light bondage and verbal humiliation)

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