My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I like this cover better than the one with a pencil heel. What was that about?!
Now we’ve all heard the comparisons to Fifty Shades and let’s start off by clearing that up.
By the middle of this book I’d decided that Ms Day had definitely read Fifty and thought something like the following to herself –
“Well, that was disappointing. It’s a workable premise, there’s good material here, but the writing’s mediocre, the characters have been left undeveloped and the dialogues are uninspiring. I could do something with this and I could do it better.”
This isn’t a rip off. The story isn’t exactly the same no matter what the other reviewers tell you. The tropes are the same though. College graduate gets a job in a new city, billionaire notices her and insta-lust happens. There are only so many ways you can write this story.
Also they are both survivors of abuse.
I liked that here. That both of them have a dark past. That’s what the story is basically centred on (though their marathon sex comes a close second) – two abuse survivors struggling to trust and understand each other. All their misunderstandings, arguments and heart breaks happen because they both have issues and the other is still learning what triggers not to press.
This first book seems primarily about Eva’s issues. Though it was clear that Gideon has some big things too, I think the author’s keeping his problems tamped down a little because they are the major hurdle she’ll start getting them across in the next book.
In this one, despite Eva thinking they were dealing with both their problems and hang-ups, we were most seeing Eva’s reactions and Eva’s hurts. Possibly because she’s the less scarred of the two and she’s already had help from psychiatrists and dealt with her problems. She’s (as has been repeated said) very self aware. She knows that when she’s hurt she runs away and that it’s the wrong reaction. She also knows what can hurt her and bluntly makes them clear to Gideon. Gideon on the other hand is more closed off, having never tried to figure out his past and how it affects him. He makes a lot of concessions for Eva, but it’ll take him longer to deal. (Hence the sequels).
They are very honest with each other and I like that, but it usually takes Eva time to calm down and talk. Her first response is flight. I like that both of them recognized quickly that what they have between them is powerful and nothing like their past relationships, but it seemed as if while Eva was the one who took them forward by making them face their demons, Gideon was the one keeping them together. No matter how hurt Gideon wasn’t willing to let her go, while Eva kept thinking they wouldn’t last and acted accordingly.
But Eva isn’t a Mary Sue (as she’s been accused of being). She doesn’t fit the profile. She knows she’s attractive and she’s confident in her sexuality. Men aren’t falling for her all over the place and most refreshing of all, she makes mistakes and knows when she made them.
Gideon’s messed up but we don’t know why. This book doesn’t tell us, though we get an idea. At first I was surprised by how much he was willing to bend for Eva after just days of meeting her when he’d held to certain rules most of his adult life. But then I’ve never felt dizzying lust or an incredible connection with a stranger. Maybe something like that makes you willing to take a risk. For Gideon it’s a pretty damned big risk.
Gideon is also controlling and refuses to understand why Eva needs him to respect certain boundaries. I’m guessing this is also something Ms Day will explore in book two. Some of his actions would have annoyed the hell out of me but Eva surprises me by being understanding. She gets why he needs to control everything he can and why he digs for information behind her back that he should just ask her for.
Anyway below’s a quote that shows why I like Eva so much. She’s got backbone and she’s not a wide-eyed or easily intimidated. There’s a female friend who loves Gideon and was once his girlfriend. Eva tell him straight that her nature’s too possessive and jealous to allow him to have close relations with another woman, especially someone who still has feelings for him. To which Gideon says —
“She’s a friend, Eva, and she’s in a rough spot. It’s a cruel time to cut her off.”
“Think carefully, Gideon. I have exes in my past, too. You’re setting the precedent now for how I’ll handle them. I’m taking my cues from you.”
He stood with a scowl. “You’re threatening me.”
“I prefer to see it as coercion. Relationships work both ways. You’re not her only friend. She can find someone more appropriate to lean on in her time of crisis.”
And I could have stood up and applauded. There have been so many romance stories where the heroine just kept her mouth shut because the hero was doing the gentlemanly thing by being a friend to the other woman. It was the source of a whole bagful of misunderstandings.
I’m sure the woman’s still going to be a source of problem because it isn’t that easy to cut out a friend from your life, but at least Eva made her position clear. Gideon can’t steam roll over her or pooh pooh her concerns. She won’t let him.
This book veered very close to becoming an erotica novel instead of romance, but maybe it was written for that market, I don’t know. Sex was certainly plentiful here, but then sex is part of their baggage and it’s also what makes them feel safe with each other, so maybe I shouldn’t criticize.
One last thing. There was a dearth of female characters here. I’m not talking about the women vying for Gideon’s interest, but women who could be Eva’s friends. I hope that is remedied in the next book, which I will definitely read.
I just read that this was originally supposed to come out in two parts. The second part being ‘Deeper in you’. But now it’s a trilogy (because that’s the rage) and they even changed the covers to match 50 Shades (which feels like an insult to Ms Days writing, but whatever). The second book is now called ‘Reflected in you.’ I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. See, if originally the author had decided to split the story in two parts, she would have just left enough of the story to fill in another book after publishing the first. Now I’m afraid that the next two books are going to be stuffed with fillers and everything I enjoyed here will be diluted, the plot spread thin. Ah, well. We live and we hope.
- Bared to You by Sylvia Day (biggirlbooks.net)