Unlocked by Courtney Milan (audiobook) – Narrated by Simon Prebble

unlocked

A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.

Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

Rating: A-

I read this some time ago, and for some reason, I don’t think I quite ‘got it’, because I listened to the audiobook recently and heard so much that I somehow missed in print.

This is actually one of those books in which I found much with which to identify; principally the idea that Elaine, rather than hiding in the face of the ridicule heaped upon her, has chosen instead to brazen it out and defy the name-callers, even though of course, underneath it all she’s devastated. We all grow up being told about “sticks and stones”, but no matter how much you ignore, or how thick a skin you develop, it still hurts.

So I liked Elaine’s attitude, while at the same time feeling angry on her behalf because her life had been blighted by the careless – and then deliberately cruel – remarks of some unfeeling people.

It’s no wonder that she would find it hard to credit Evan’s repentance – and the reason I’ve given this an A- rather than a straight A is the scene with the ropes, because… really? But apart from that, I enjoyed the way Elaine gradually came to see that Evan was truly sorry for what he’d done and that she could allow herself to trust – and love – him.

While I enjoy audiobooks very much, it’s usually when reading the printed version that I gain the most insight into the characters and am able to read between the lines – but this was one of those times when it happened in reverse. I’m going to put that down to the quality of Simon Prebble’s performance rather than to my own inattention while reading 😉

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