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Bookish Ames

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
~~Louisa May Alcott

Unbound by Cara McKenna

Unbound - Cara McKenna

(this review also posted at Book Binge)


I read and enjoyed After Hours by this author, so I was really looking forward to reading Unbound.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was surprised because I was unable to put this book down and read it compulsively in one sitting.


Merry is going to hike in Scotland for three weeks in a mission of self-discovery.  She’s recently lost a lot of weight and she wants to figure out who she is now.  On the outside she’s a skinny girl, but on the inside she’s still fat.  She picks Scotland because her mother was from there and she wants to explore the city her mother grew up in.


Merry’s two weeks into her trip when she falls ill.  She catches crypto from swimming in the lochs and she gets really sick and hits her head on a rock when she falls.  She’d noticed smoke from an isolated cabin before she got sick and she heads in that direction.  The owner of the cabin, Rob, doesn’t like strangers coming to bother him but even he can’t turn away a sick and bleeding woman.


Merry can tell straight off the bat that Rob does not do well with people.  He’s a bit surly and blunt, but he does let her recuperate in his cabin.  And slowly Rob starts to relax in her presence and he isn’t so uneasy with her anymore.


A friendship begins and Merry and Rob eventually give into their mutual attraction.  But what is between them is deeper than plain old lust.  Rob and Merry tell each other things they’ve never told anyone before.  A big secret that Merry flushes out of Rob is a sexual fetish of his.  At first he’s afraid to even show her that part of himself, but eventually he realizes that Merry is safe for him and they indulge each other.  But there is a time limit.  She had a week to hike to Inverness and the more time she spends with Rob, the less time she’s giving herself for the rest of her hike.  And what happens when she goes back to America?


Oh goodness did I love Merry and Rob.  I liked them together and I liked them separately.  Merry is going through some big life changes.  Her mom has passed away and she’s lost a significant amount of weight.  She’s hiking across Scotland, trying out her new body and spending time alone.  I thought this was very brave of her.  To go off on your own, that’s something I can admire.  Her physical intimacy with Rob also brings some new adventures.  She’s not totally comfortable with the new look but she’s quickly shedding inhibitions, which is always fun.


And Rob.  Rob was such an intense character.  He’s living in self-imposed exile from himself, basically.  The way I saw it, he thought by removing himself from temptation that he was dealing with his problem, but in fact he was just removing himself from temptation and not dealing with his problem, at all.  Something that implodes later on in the book.  But the pain that he feels, his exile is a form of self-punishment.  And sweet Merry, adventurous Merry, draws him out of his shell and into the world of the living.  I know I’m not doing any justice to his character, but he was intense.


My reaction to the book was intense.  And when you add sex and Rob’s inclinations into the mix?  Oh wow.  LOL  It was hot.  And I like how Merry took him down roads he’d only imagined and I thought that was hot too.  It was almost like he was a virgin.


I loved almost everything about this book.  My only complaint would be the emails at the beginning.  I didn’t feel like they added anything to the story.  Especially the one friend’s comments.  Meh.  But everything after that was very good.  4.75 out of 5.