Unlocked by Courtney MilanPublished June 1st 2012 by Createspace
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Reviewed on January 16, 2015
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Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…
“When I see you, I remember that you made me want to drown rather than be myself.”
“What you did when you were young could kill you. It just might take years to do it.”
The author of Unlocked did wonderful with the bully-and-victim-romance between the hero and heroine, instead of just throwing them together and declaring it was love. Not everyone can pull this off and make it believable.
I came to respect Evan for facing his wrongdoings and asking for forgiveness. That takes a lot of strength— and obviously love. He was so perfectly human because of his imperfections. I hated Evan at first. I hated him so much, and honestly, I get that whole “act like a jerk if you like her” kind of thing, but he took to a whole other level and it hurt me so much to see and feel Elaine’s pain. We’ve all lived through a humiliation and Elaine still suffered from hers, even ten years later. I admire this woman for her strength, her endurance, and her loyalty. All I wanted to do was cradle her in my arms and protect her like she was my friend, like she was my sister. I would have accepted her even if she did reject Evan. As a matter of fact, I was hoping she would find someone else to marry, not because it would hurt Evan, but because she deserved everything. It didn’t matter that she loved Evan back; I would’ve firmly understand how she wouldn’t be able to be with him even if she loved him. Some scars are so deep that they still bleed when you’re around the person who gave them to you. Nonetheless, I am happy she overcame her past and grasped happiness with both hands. I couldn’t even hate Elaine when she confessed to her mother that sometimes she hated her. Nobody’s love is pure or perfect.
Another thing: I was expecting more from Elaine like exacting revenge, but I guess it would only give her bullies triumph that they brought her down to their level.
Speaking of bullies, I enjoyed Diana’s / Lady Cosgrove’s character too. I understand how it feels when you think you don’t deserve forgiveness, when you don’t want to give in because you’re afraid of retaliation, when you would rather be mean than be nice and allow people to walk all over you. In this case: be the wolf than rather be the sheep.
Overall, this is probably the best and most original historical romance novella I’ve ever read! It was heartfelt pleasure.