Untouched by Anna Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank you for writing this book, Ms. Campbell. I loved it, from beginning to end. I am an unashamed lover of virgin heroes, and Matthew is going near the top of my list. Matthew truly was a hero to die for. His passion, his integrity, his intelligence, his innocence, his anguish. Oh, my goodness. I am so in love with this man. And reading his story, and how he meets Grace, was such a wonderful experience for me. Why we love books is so unique to each reader. There is no formula for a perfect book. But, in the right hands, and with the right elements, a story can earn a place on a reader's keeper shelf, and in her heart. This is what happened with this book.
Ms. Campbell proved to me that a virgin hero is a fantastic lead for a story. I have never felt that experience made a better lover. The best lover is the one who cares for your needs and wants to please and take care of you. That sees you as an individual and wants to make each moment with you special. That you are the only person in the world that he wants to be with. Matthew showed this so well. I liked that their first time together was realistic. I would expect no less. But after that, and before that, he makes up for it. I knew that he wanted nothing more than to please Grace and to show her how much he loved her in every way possible.
Matthew was so tortured, but he never came off as weak to me. He had the strong will and the strong nature of a survivor. His keen mind is continually used and enhanced, to become a formidable weapon that he uses to protect Grace, although he is at a physical disadvantage. In my mind, brute strength will fail the user. But a strong mind, a strong spirit, will always prevail. That was the case with Matthew. It's fairly obvious, but I loved this man!!!
Although I gush and sigh over heroes, and a great hero is a huge draw for me as a reader, a well-written heroine is equally crucial for this reader. I want to believe in the love that the couple finds together, and it requires strength of character in a heroine for me to do so. I found this in Grace. Grace is a woman who embodies the elements of womanhood that I find so powerful. She has suffered much in her life. She made mistakes, but she moved forward and accepted the consequences of her choices in life. She realized that she was spoiled and expected the world to bow to her, in her youth. But as she matured, she realized that she had to make lemonade out of lemons. Although she has a very passionate heart, she values herself not to give herself away lightly or to sell herself cheaply. She was well named, because I did see a lot of grace in her.
Grace was put in a truly harrowing position in this novel. She was threatened with death and brutal rape. But instead of curling up into a ball of misery, she kept searching for a solution to her problems. I loved that she saw the beauty in Matthew. She fell in love with him, and wasn't going to let him give up on a chance of freedom. She was willing to make some tough choices for him. And despite the fact that she raised to believe it was wrong to give herself to him sexually as his mistress, her love inspired her to make the choice of her heart. Despite her love for him, she was willing to let him go, to live his life and discover what life outside of the prison he had lived in for most of his adulthood, had to offer. In a nutshell, Grace was a wonderful heroine.
Anna Campbell knows how to write romance, in my book. She can write a love story that will break your heart, but also blister the pages with passion. And the depths of the storytelling are such that you feel so enriched by reading her books. I found this book so delightfully sensual and thrilling. Each scene between Grace and Matthew was full of the delightful anticipation of when their passion for each other would culminate. Ms. Campbell did a fantastic job of building the attraction between Grace and Matthew. It would be easy to say that Matthew would have felt a burning, relentless passion for just about any woman, as a healthy young man who had been sexually unawakened before Grace. Maybe I could say that for another book that was not as well-written as this book. But, in Untouched, there was no question that what Matthew felt for Grace was unique and special. The love scenes were fantastically written, and I still replay those interactions, and all the moments between Matthew and Grace in my head. I know this is a book I will pull off my shelf for rereads many times.
I thought that the transformation of Grace's feelings for Matthew was so well-done. She starts out in fear of him, trying her best to keep her distance. But gradually, his beauty, his appeal breaks down her defences. I got the impression that his soul was calling out to hers. Call me sappy, I care not. Yes, there is the great peril that she is in, should he not take her as his mistress. But the way Ms. Campbell wrote this, showed that her decision to become his lover evolved out of her passion for Matthew, not out of desperate calculation.
I thought that the romance so delectable in this story. It was full of strong, earthy passion, but there was also a purity to it. I felt as though Matthew and Grace were soulmates. They were alone and had suffered so much, until the evil machinations of Matthew's uncle led to their meeting and getting to know each other. The menace and the peril that Matthew and Grace dealt with was so apparent, that I held my breath in expectation of how things would end. I hoped that Grace and Matthew would find their happy ending they both deserved, and I was well-rewarded.
I can only speak for myself, but I was blown away by this book. It was such an enriching experience to read this story. This is my third book to read by this author, and I am convinced that historical romance is blessed by her presence. For the third time, I was captivated, and the world fell away. I didn't want to do anything but read the book. Even if that meant I was missing out on a meal or sleep, in the meantime. Simply put, Anna Campbell writes the kind of stories that take me away, and make me believe in the intense promise of love. And that is why I read romance. This book definitely goes on my keeper shelf.
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