Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna


Unbound by Cara McKenna
Released: October 16, 2013
Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by Mandi

I’ve said this countless times on this blog but I love Cara McKenna’s voice. She always gives me something different in her stories, and many times they are filled with characters who are not super rich or have wealthy backgrounds or families. They are just people, usually one of them struggling with something quite dark, and we get to see them fall in love and realize what they are not alone to struggle with their issues.

In Unbound we meet Merry, a woman who has recently lost almost 100 pounds, and while that puts a huge smile on her face, she still feels fat on the inside. Those feelings don’t just magically go away. After the recent death of her mother, Merry decides to do something just for herself, and off she goes to trek miles and miles across Scotland. She finds peace and enjoys the solitude, until she becomes violently ill. Weak, with horrible cramping and nausea, she hikes to a reclusive, small cottage she sees in the distance.

Rob is owner of said cabin. He has banished himself to this place with no electricity or indoor plumbing for over two years. He is (was) a severe alcoholic, and after treating his now ex-wife cruelly, and having pushed away all friends and family, he resides alone. The temptation of a bigger city, of alcohol or just people in general is too much for him to bear.

With no other humans about, he was nothing more than an anonymous mammal – breathing and eating and living. But in the company of other people, he couldn’t help feeling he was the worst his species had to offer.

Gluttonous, weak, spiteful.

It had taken the wilderness to make a civilized man of him, and he longed for this place every second he was away from it. Even more than he longed for a drink.

Then Merry shows up.

At first I didn’t like Merry. She shows up at this stranger’s cottage and is so darn forward. She felt pushy and she pried into his life and never stopped talking. I felt embarrassed for her in a sense. But then something happened. I started to realize Rob needed this force in his life. Rob starts very quiet, very awkward. He is so used to solitude it’s hard for him to fake smile or keep a conversation going. But three days of them together, and he starts to open up. Merry practically forces him, but as the reader you can see it is what he wants. Rob has certain sexual proclivities that he feels shame for (being tied up – or the feeling of rough rope against his skin). He actually can’t get aroused very much without this. He has such shame over this and over his alcoholism and just the shitty way he has treated people – but he opens up to Merry. He spills all of his sexual fantasies – and Merry embraces it. She says – fuck yes! Let’s tie you up and role play. She likes it, and he likes it and their relationship takes a very sweet (and kinky!) turn. Rob is so vulnerable and kind of shy and Merry who I thought would give me a headache turns out to be perfect for him. Who knew!

The end unfolds with some drama and conflict and I really enjoyed how it all plays out. After a little bit of a rocky start, this one worked quite well for me.

Rating: B

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  1. Nicole 1000 says

    I liked this one. So often novels have the kink of being tied up from the heroine’s pov (& it wasn’t until she met her billionaire dom that freed her from her repressed sexuality). his shame felt much more realistic and yet the kink wasn’t diminished at the end of the story. Merry’s acceptance of it helped him, but he helped himself learn to like himself better & move from the past. I like how mckenna has us see & fall for ‘new rob’ but doesnt ignore who he was as an alcoholic. Ending felt rushed a bit but i really enjoyed this book. Merry and rob accepted in each other what they could not accept in themselves. Very good read (thoughtful, intimate emotionally and quite a few sexy times).

    • Mandi says

      Yes yes yes. I love that it is the hero who has more issues to work through – and I loved how they are addressed. Agree with all you say :)

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