A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com
Anne Calhoun has rapidly become one of my most loved romance writers, thanks to her ability to write stories with memorable characters, evocative descriptions and hurt-so-good emotions that tear at your heart all the way to the hard-won happy ending. She's one of the few writers who I am content to read in any length available, as I know that she will make the most out of every word, whether the story is 20 or 200 pages long.
Unforgiven is a full length novel, and I savored every moment of Adam and Marissa's journey back to each other after years and oceans apart. In their small hometown of Walkers Ford, South Dakota, Adam Collins had been the local bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, the hot dangerous guy on a motorcycle who didn't seem to care about anyone or anything, except Marissa. Marissa Brooks was the last living descendant of a family who had started out rich but ended up with nothing but a giant falling-down mansion and memories of a better time. In high school, Adam and Marissa had a passion that could survive almost anything, despite Adam's best efforts not to drag her down to his level. What it couldn't survive was a terrible accident on a rainy night when Adam's penchant for self-destruction left another boy dead and Adam on his way out of town permanently. During his self-imposed exile, he attempted to rebuild his life via the Marine Corps and Delaney Walker, the well-connected good girl and complete opposite of Marissa, while Marissa worked on rebuilding her home one wooden plank at a time, despite the misgivings and bad-mouthing from the small town gossips in Walkers Ford. But now Adam's out of the Corps and back in town for good, while Delaney Walker is about to marry Adam's best friend, Keith Herndon, in Marissa Brooks' now fully restored family home of Brookhaven.
What happens next could have been a standard soap opera plot full of evil machinations and cookie-cutter caricatures. But this is Anne Calhoun, so what does happen is one of the best books I've read all year, with some of the most wonderful expositions of love, passion, betrayal and redemption, all in the claustrophobic setting of a small town where everybody knows your business, or at least thinks they do. There are secrets and revelations throughout Unforgiven, to be sure, but they are revealed in the author's own good time and when they can provide the most devastating effect on the reader. Through Adam and Marissa (and Delaney and Keith) we see once again that it is often easier to forgive others than ourselves, but that until all are forgiven, no one can truly be happy.
I loved reading Unforgiven so much that I actually forced myself to stop between chapters so that it would take longer for me to finish. Anne Calhoun never fails to capture my emotions with her beautiful writing and Unforgiven is no exception. If you're a fan of Anne Calhoun, it's a must read. If you've never read Anne Calhoun before, it's a great start.
Sensuality level: 4