Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna


Title: Unbound
Author: Cara McKenna
Date of publication: 15 October 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Tumblr / Goodreads

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb

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 Review

This is my first novel by Ms McKenna and it happens to be my first venture into the erotic genre. It was an interesting, thought-provoking read which I enjoyed a lot. I liked a lot of things about it but there were also some things that pushed my boundaries. 

The blurb doesn't really reveal a lot about the story, so my review is bound to be somewhat spoilerish. With the story of Rob and Merry explores some very heavy issues - sexual fetishism, addiction, body image, human interactions from the physical to the deeply emotional and personal.

It is a very character driven story, told beautifully. One of things I liked the most in this book is Ms McKenna's writing - it is quite lyrical and fitting to the story. The story of Merry and Rob is a true romance despite its dark undertones. The book takes us on journey into the human psyche giving us insights both in the minds of the hero and the heroine which are rather unconventional, I have to admit. 

Rob is a broken man if I ever read about one. He is haunted by so many demons, a slave to his passions and addictions, but somehow Merry gets to him in a way neither of them expected initially. I like how they gradually opened to each other and realised that the other is exactly what they needed and were searching for without being consciously aware of it. .

Merry had her own issues to deal with. The problems with her self image, though realistically presented, seemed minor compared to Rob's troubled past and present. I felt she was not as fully developed as a character as Rob and lacked of the character evolution, something that I really liked about him. We basically see Rob completely transformed through his relationship with Merry and while she experiences her own growth, she seems more static.

The bond between Mary and Rob was formed in the seclusion of the Rob's cottage in the Highlands and amidst the wild nature of Scotland but it put to the test in the world of civilization. It was an emotional journey for both characters. Two unusual people meet by chance and find that they are perfect for each other. They match not despite their flaws and weaknesses but because of them. Essentially, they learn that their addictions and passions are not a deficiency but an integral part of who they are. 

I admit that the sexual fetishism was a bit too much for me. I was taken aback by some of Rob's fantasies and they really bothered me but I do realize that they were an integral part of his self.

Overall, it is an intense erotic novel with deep psychological insight of two troubled souls who find love when and where least expected. Theirs is a painful, yet beautiful story. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of romance, willing to step away from tradition and explore an unusual and very passionate erotic novel.

Now, I need to go back and check Ms McKenna's other books (Willing Victim and After Hours come first to my mind) which enjoy great reviews on Goodreads. 

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