I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Chrysalis Series #1
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on November 5, 2013
Genres: BDSM, Erotica, Romance
An award-winning erotic romance for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey Claire Ryan is finally coming out of her shell after a devastating breakup. What better way to rejoin the world than through a romance book club. But she never expects to find love for herself... Bookshop owner Evan Lang still harbors deep grief for the death of his wife. He'd introduced her to a world of domination she'd never before known. He thinks he'll never be able to find someone that open, that responsive again. Until Claire walks through his door...
My Initial Reaction…
This was an okay erotic romance. I didn’t connect to the characters the way I like to and the story was extremely predictable, but the erotic scenes were pretty good, making Awakening a solid 3 star read for me.
Awakening is told from the point of view of Claire and Evan. They’re both likeable characters for the most part, though I just didn’t connect to them. I think it might be because they were just a bit too generic. There were no surprises in either of them.
Claire is coming out of an abusive relationship and trying to find her way back into the world. She’s very down on herself and doesn’t think she’s worthy of love. But she’s trying to connect with people again and she sees joining a book club as a way to do just that. And through her time at the book store where the book club is held she finds her way to the erotica section and starts fantasizing about BDSM.
Lucky for Claire, the book store owner – Evan – just so happens to be a Dom, who’s very attracted to her. He sees in her the submissive that needs to be taken care of and it calls to him. But he’s not a practicing Dom right now, because his last submissive was his wife, who died from cancer years earlier. He’s still deeply in love with her and can’t move on, even if Claire calls to him. But he wants to take care of Claire and introduce her to the D/s lifestyle. So, he’s doesn’t know what to do.
I really liked Evan and Claire – and the little bits we got of two or three side characters – and enjoyed watching Claire gain her confidence. I just didn’t connect to them. There was nothing about either of them that struck me as particularly unique – I could insert either of them into hundreds of other stories and they would fit. So I wasn’t really invested in their story, probably because I never had any doubts about how it would turn out.
In true erotica fashion, Awakening‘s story is propelled by the sexual encounters. Yes, you have Claire who’s new to the BDSM lifestyle and timid about exploring it. And you have widower Evan trying to deal with his feelings for Claire when he still longs for his wife. But the story would have gone no where if it weren’t for the sex. And that’s fine with me – it’s what I expect in an erotica. But the real sex didn’t start happening until after the halfway point. There was lots of Claire falling asleep fantasizing about her books and eventually Evan, but it just took too long to get to their relationship. Evan was standoffish and unkind just a bit too long IMHO.
I will say, though, that once it got going it was pretty good. And I liked that Elene balanced the sexual aspects of the D/s relationship with the emotional ones, providing a little bit more substance to the story. I just wished that the story were a little bit less predictable.
If you’ve read a few books (which you probably have if you’re reading this review) you already know these characters from the little I’ve written and you know how this story is going to go. But if you like a little bit of BDSM play, Awakening delivers pretty well.