I can tell after I read Sallinger's thank yous that she received excellent and careful advice about the BDSM sceneI had thought she was merely, merely?!
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Evan's concerns that she find the right person. Bridget's acceptance and explanations. Pointing out the damage that can be done by emotional abuse I'll say it again, parents oughta be licensed! The foundation of any relationship is honesty, but in BDSM it is even more critical because Sallinger drove me crazy with the build-upthere is one heck of a lot of foreplay in this for the reader!
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Starting with that "she hadn't found enough scalding water to cleanse her soul of her crimes" and slowly, oh, so damned slowly, revealing bit by bit the truth of that crime. Truly beautifully done.
And if I thought the build-up to the horrifying reveal was slow For those who don't want the insta-love Never have two people fought so hard to deny their attraction! And, again, beautifully done. They have such real-world feelings and reactions. Sallinger reveals the care required by a dominant and never does it make more sense than in the romance between Claire and Evan.
It could certainly save some people. I just cried about the destructive nature of Charlie and Claire's relationship. Sallinger could have gotten a lot more tears out of me if she'd brought in more detail about Charlie and his reactions. Hmmm, is that a good thing or a bad thing?? At times, Awakening is a touch clinical, but I can easily forgive this for the original touches Sallinger puts to this story. Evan's own fears may be a bit over-the-tophis reactions to Claire certainly arebut grief can twist a person up. And most sane people want to avoid bringing any more such pain into their lives.
And the abuse angle is a good reminder that abusers can be found anywhere.
Just re-reading my notes brings tears to my own eyesagain! His anger and frustration and grief are just so real and pulls my own sense of loss out. Tiny streamers stroked him, the damp heat reminiscent of small tongues on his flesh. Even knowing how it is "supposed" to turn out, I was on pins and needles as to how Sallinger would get around Evan's angry reactions and boorish behavior and the pain it caused Claire. I loved that Evan could recognize his behavior.
An unusual combination of empathy and self-enlightenment in a soldier.
Unorthodox and it appealed to my own love for books, and I think there are a number of angles which could speak to a lot of readers. Whoa, that scene in the bookstore when Evan finally cracks Her lack of information.
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Her anger. Heck, Evan's anger and grief over his loss. His fear. The sense of "okayness" from Evan being man enough to apologize. That everyone has secret shames they want to hide. There's a nice undercurrent that I'm not sure Sallinger intended in that there's resolution when one faces up to one's issues. To love and be loved.
To trust intrinsically that you could be yourself and not be judged or rejected. The Story Claire Ryan is finally ready to push past her near isolation and venture into the world. A first step which takes her into Bibliophile and the Romance Readers Book Club and leads to a world even greater and eyeopening than she could have expected.
The Characters Claire Ryan is a diamond grader and jewelry appraiser who retreated from the world in fear of her abusive disability and has not done anything socially alone in 15 years.
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Chester is her pit bull terrier. Charlie is her ex-boyfriend. Marcus is the brother she hasn't spoken to in ten years.
Evan Lane , an ex-military man who enjoys classical movies and owns Bibliophile, an independent bookstore that stocks unusual selections. Jean leads the Romance Readers Book Club and seems to have an instinctive knowledge of how far to push. Bridget , a chemistry professor, is already a good friend of Evan's and becomes friends with Claire.
The Cover The cover is generic with Claire lying down with her shoulder in the foreground and a bent, stocking-clad leg in the background. I wish they'd incorporated a book into the cover The title is what it's about, Claire's Awakening. I do believe Evan woke up as well.
ARC provided by Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review. Not quite a 4 star but a bit more than a 3. Claire has been a shut in for the last year, ready to finally set out into the world and her first social setting. A book club. She never expected the owner of the story to catch her eye nor the hidden desires found within the pages of the erotic novels found on the shelves.
But Claire also never realized that her past contained signs of a certain need that she never opened her min ARC provided by Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review. But Claire also never realized that her past contained signs of a certain need that she never opened her mind to. Evan never expected to desire a woman after losing his wife, who was also his sub for ten years. So when the meek woman walked into his bookstore and his body reacted, Evan couldn't understand what it was about her and more importantly he didn't want to understand it.
But when he over hears her talking about her past and how she craved the abuse that she provoked, he instantly recognized the signs. Claire had no idea that what she truly craved was disciplined submission. Evan doesn't understand why he desires to be the one to take her on this journey, he can't stand the idea of having another woman after losing his wife, but he can't seem to let Claire go.
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When faced with the idea that she could venture into this world without the proper care, Evan decides that he wants to be the one to show her this side of herself, but without the sexual or emotional relationship. As Claire is eased into a safe way to feel pain and expose the pain in her past her feelings for Evan grow.
But Evan still can't bare to let go of the memory of his wife, but his need to claim Claire is too much to deny. This story took a while to get into, I was pleased once we got past the start of the story we were able to jump from encounter to encounter without having to have much story filler between.
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Evan's character was likable and towards the end when he finally had to face the choice of his past or a future, it was heartwarming. It's hard to explain what it was about this that just left me so in between. But then once they got there, we had little time to sit back and enjoy their journey. I really would have loved more scenes of him providing her with the experiences so that she found a bit more self discovery before the grand finale. Oct 26, YaYa rated it really liked it. The first half of the book I was scared I was going to give up on it.
It was just too much story for me. But I get why. The author wants you to feel exactly what both parties are experiencing and feeling before and after their agreement.