Friday, December 21, 2007

Untouched

Book: Untouched
Author: Anna Campbell
Grade: C

I picked up Untouched after being told by a friend that it was a book that needed to be read. All of her excitement over the book made me drop my, at the time, current read and rush out to purchase Untouched.

“I am many things,” Lord Sheene said. “Kind is not one of them.”

Beautiful Grace Paget has no reason to doubt these words. After all, she was kidnapped, spirited away to a remote country manor, and told she is to grant this man his every desire… or lose her life. But Grace is no common trollop. So she risks everything to save her virtue by planning a daring escape, even though she finds herself tempted by this dangerously handsome man. There is something in his eyes that makes her wonder if he is not as cruel as he would have her believe…

Sheene knew nothing of the plan to bring him this woman. Locked up as a prisoner, called “mad” by all of society, he will do anything to reclaim his life, and Grace’s sensuous beauty has distracted him from his goals. And although he finds her irresistible, he is horrified to hold her against her will. Now, together, they must both revolt against the strange set of circumstances that have forced them together - for only then will Grace truly surrender to him… forever.


Since I read prior reviews, I went in to reading Untouched knowing the basic premise and what would occur during the course of the story but as always I blocked out every other interpretation to form my own.

Overall, Untouched was a good book. The writing was fluid, the hero and heroine were endearing, and the backdrop for the story was almost tangible. I did have a few gripes about some things though:

First, I thought that Matthew and Grace's "falling in love" time was really fast. Matthew went from being weary of Grace and not really trusting her to telling her he loved over the span of three days. Grace went from being drugged and strapped to a table to falling for the "insane" Matthew over that short time also. This does not normally bother me in paranormals because they are not your normal run of the mill romance but in a historical romance, like this one, I prefer to see the emotional connection between the main characters happen over time, not over night.

Secondly, I thought that Grace was sometimes deliberately dense. For all of her smarts and time in the real world outside of her privileged upbringing, besides her rough working hands, there was no trace of a woman who had lived outside of a coddled world for nine years (during the first half of the book anyway). There were times when her inprisioners were blatantly honest about their intent and it went right over her head. In other words she was quite slow on the uptake. The second half of the book, though, she became more of the woman I expected her to be after living the life she had.

Lastly, I felt that some of the brutality that Grace received was washed over and taken too lightly. Like: It happened, it's over, now let me go back to my regularly scheduled captive program. I also felt that for all of the danger that Grace was in we rarely got a clue about how that looming threat affected her. In fact, it hardly seemed to, even after she suffered at the hands of one of the men holding her captive.

Now, there were times when I totally felt how the two had suffered. Matthew from living his years under the watchful and many times abusive thumb of his uncle and Grace under the repressiveness of her husband and the decisions she made early on in life. These prior occurrences that shaped their lives played out realistically in their reactions to each other and the situations they found themselves in throughout the book.

Grace's initial reaction to having sex with Matthew for the first time was one of those instances. Her reaction, her thoughts, her feelings about what transpired between them felt very Grace like. Even the way that she second guessed Matthew's feelings for her, thinking them to be more fanciful than real, (since she was the first woman he had known) was very realistic and I do like that it was added to the story.

Also, Matthew's logical stance on most everything through the story. From believing Grace to be exactly what his uncle said she would be, to learning who Grace really was, to forging a plan for Grace's escape; his driving force behind it all never faltered. There was never a moment where I thought that Matthew wouldn't do that or wouldn't say that. In other words their actions were never contradictory or out of place with the character.

All in all this was a worthwhile read. There was a love scene or two that I skimmed through, because after reading the third one I got the point: Grace and Matthew liked having sex with each other. There were a few slow points and the first half of the book seemed to drag, but overall Untouched was worth the price I paid for it.

Grade: C

ETA: I gave Untouched a C because I had a hard time reading through the first half of the book. Though, Once I reached the second half, the story picked up momentum and I became increasingly interested in the characters and the direction of the story as a whole.

If it wasn't for my struggle with the first part of the story then I would have graded Untouched with an enthusiastic B+. But I couldn't, in good conscious, grade it that highly knowing that I wanted to put the book down the first few chapters in.

Click here for excerpt.

3 comments:

  1. You know, I've been meaning to read this one (Anna Campbell has courted enough controversy that I'm curious to try her) but having read your review, and robin's, I feel reluctant. It sounds interesting, but then you've given it a C. What does this mean?!

    The last historical I read and enjoyed was Lydia Joyce's Voices of the Night (well written and atmospheric) and I actively disliked Hoyt's The Raven Prince (anachronistic dialogue and wallpaper history). Do you think I might like Untouched?

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  2. Hi Meriam!

    I gave Untouched a C because I had a hard time reading through the first half of the book. Though, Once I reached the second half, the story picked up momentum and I became increasingly interested in the characters and the direction of the story as a whole.

    If it wasn't for my struggle with the first part of the story then I would have graded Untouched with an enthusiastic B+. But I couldn't, in good conscious, grade it that highly knowing that I wanted to put the book down the first few chapters in.

    That said, Yes, I would recommend this book. The writing is good, I didn't find the prose to be purple like I've read other reviewers mention and the characters were endearing. They made you want to root for them. And who knows, you might just love this story start to finish, my friend who recommended it to me sure did.

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  3. Okay, I've added it to my amazon basket. Well written, likable characters and a strong 2nd half are good enough for me. In fact, I would rather a slow start than a limp ending.

    I'll let you know how it goes!

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