Secrets in the Marriage Bed by Nalini Singh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book! I can see Nalini Singh's distinctive voice and brilliance with romantic relationship and character development. I was so sucked into this book, I didn't want to put it down to eat dinner. I loved how neither Caleb nor Vicki was the bad guy. They were both good people, but their family dysfunction had wired them with defense mechanisms that don't make emotional openness easy in a marriage.
I loved how the older hero, younger heroine dynamic (10 year age difference) isn't a mere plot point here. Vicki was attracted to Caleb because his strength and his energy, that he is a man who would take care of her and keep her safe; and Caleb wanted Vicki as his wife because of her beauty and her sweetness, her unique elegance. She represents his image of the perfect wife and the happy family he longed for growing up. But the things that attracted them to each other are part of their emotional angst and defenses against the world. Five years later, a lot of unresolved issues build up, and it was good reading to see those walls come down and the healing begin.
What I loved:
*The sensuality was perfect. Talking about Sexual Healing! Since sex was an issue, I did feel that all the sexy scenes were perfect and fitting for this book. And Ms. Singh definitely writes a hot love scene excellently. You could see how deeply Vicki and Caleb cared for each other and desired each other, despite Vicki's programmed hangups courtesy of her grandmother and mother.
*The characters are real and lovable. I adored Caleb's mix of strength and vulnerability. He truly is an alpha man, in the best ways. Very caring and nurturing to Vicki (and takes a lot of stuff off his family because he feels it's right). He just didn't know how to help Vicki or to get past the wall between them, and his issues with his family didn't help matters. I love how they stand up and fight for each other against others and the world, a united front. The evolution that they go through is organic. As the painful issues of their past are healed, I could see the strengths of both of their personalities shine through to reveal who they are truly meant to be.
*I don't normally reach for a married couple romance, but this one is perfect and maybe I am changing my view on that, since I realize I can read about a couple who have to work on their marriage without it being a lot of painful angst and excess drama. I liked that they fought for each other and their marriage because deep down, they didn't want anyone else or to be apart. They just wanted all of each other.
*This book was about two people who loved each other, even if they couldn't say the words. The love is there and it gives me a high to see love conquer all, as it does in this book.
Definitely going on my favorites list!
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