Saturday, 14 April 2018

#CBR10 Book 27: "Unraveled" by Courtney Milan

Page count: 258 pages
Rating: 5 stars

This is a re-read, and my original review for this book can be found here.

As with the other Milans I've been revisiting, I wanted to listen to this in audio, but discovered, to my dismay that it wasn't narrated by Polly Lee, who did the first two books in The Turner series, but Nicole Quinn, whose voice just did NOT work for me. I tried to warm to her throughout the first chapter, but gave up and returned the audio.

Unraveled is my favourite book in this trilogy and still, so many years after I first read it (end of 2011) on of my favourite romance novels period. It's quite common in romance to save the last book in a series for the most conflicted and complicated of the characters introduced earlier in the series. This is certainly the case here. Smite Turner is scarred both physically and emotionally from the terrible things his overly religious (and quite quite mad) mother put him through growing up. All three Turner brothers are affected by the death of their sister Hope, but I'd forgotten that it was revealed in this book that she was Smite's twin - so he would likely feel the loss even more acutely.

In addition to the emotional scars he has from his mother's mistreatment and months living homeless on the streets, taking care of his younger brother, Smite is clearly neuro-atypical in some way. He has an eidetic memory and can recall everything he's ever seen or heard, making it all the harder for him to actually process and move beyond the traumas of his past. It seems being with Miranda makes him less acutely aware of them and makes them easier to bear, without their relationship being some sort of miraculous and implausible cure. One of the things I love so much about this book is that Smite is a very damaged individual and he's not magically fixed by the love of a good woman, he just finds it easier to cope when he's not all alone anymore.

As I said in my original review, this book can be read as a stand-alone, but being the third book in a trilogy, there are also scenes tying up story lines introduced earlier in the series and emotional punchlines that absolutely work better if you know the characters involved. All three books are excellent romances, so it shouldn't be a hardship for anyone to read them all.

I was very happy to see that Smite and Miranda Darling still made my heart happy, even if I'm disappointed that the audiobook didn't work for me.

Judging a book by its cover: Poor, partially decapitated cover model. While I'm grateful that we don't see the entire face of the woman who's supposed to portray Miranda (telltale red hair), so the reader can keep their own mental image of what she looks like, the "lopping the top of the person's head" off approach to covers isn't great either. Of all the dresses used for the books in the trilogy, I think this is the one I like the most, though, both in design and colour. So pretty.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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