Joint Review – Unforgiven by Anne Calhoun

UnforgivenPublisher: Berkley

Publish Date: June 4th

How I got this book: NetGalley


For as long as he could remember, he wanted her…

Raised by a single mother, Adam Collins resolved to take no chances with a girl’s future—or his own. That’s why, as hard as it was, he resisted everything he felt for Marissa Brooks. Then one night a reckless challenge left a fellow student dead and changed both their lives forever. As penance, Adam took the boy’s place in the Marines, where he could disappear into discipline and duty, and left Marissa behind to struggle with her dreams.

Twelve years later, Adam is back in Walkers Ford to serve as the best man in his friend’s wedding. The years haven’t diminished the electric connection he has with Marissa. But Adam’s mistake continues to haunt him, and Marissa is stumbling under the weight of her family’s legacy. Together they wrestle with demons and dreams, but if there’s any hope for a future together Adam has to not only find a way to forgive himself, but also ask others for forgiveness—especially from the woman whose heart he broke.

*Blurb from Goodreads*


MinnChica: I have really enjoyed Calhoun’s writing in the past, so when I found her new contemporary romance book, I knew I needed to get it right away. While I still love her writing style and ability to write some super sexy bedroom antics, there was something about this book that just didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it was the “reputation” that Marissa had for reasons that never really made sense to me, or Adam’s unrelenting commitment to fixing everything, I just didn’t connect with the book like I have with previous stories by Calhoun.

Lou: I’ve been a fan of Calhoun’s short stories and I was looking forward to Unforgiven but like MinnChica, I also didn’t connect with the book. I felt detached to Marrisa and Adam and whilst the sex scenes were intense and hot, I lost interest in them outside of the bedroom. I also didn’t understand the ‘reputation’ that Marissa had. She liked sex and had relationships with her partners. I don’t understand why her enjoying sex became an issue in the book. As soon as her and Adam meet again after twelve years apart, they have sex after a short reintroduction. Considering that Adam broke Marissa’s heart I felt that their coming together was quick and not very romantic. I don’t know but I felt detached from everything and I’m not sure if it was the style of writing.

MinnChica: Like Lou, once I put this book down, I  couldn’t really put my finger on why it didn’t work for me. Probably my biggest problem with the book was the weird issues surrounding this “reputation” that Marissa had. Like Lou said, Marissa had relationships with people she liked and respected, and the fact that those relationships created some kind of negative stigma for her was so random and unnecessary. The relationship between Adam and Marissa was good in the bedroom. Calhoun has always done a wonderful job of writing incredible erotic romances, so I was glad to see that aspect still rocked. However, the actual romance between Adam and Marissa just didn’t do it for me. I never really felt invested in either Adam or Marissa as individuals, so when it came time to their relationship, I just didn’t really seem to care one way or the other how things went between them.

Lou: I didn’t understand the negativity surrounding Marissa and her enjoyment of sex.  Was it a counterpart to the hero not having as many sexual partners as the heroine? I also had issues with the writing. It was so wordy in places and there’s a whole lot of dialogue covering the story. There also wasn’t a lot of personality between Adam and Marissa and I found myself a little bored with their interactions outside of the bedroom. It’s really weird trying to explain properly why I didn’t get this romance or book. I just could not get engaged with the characters. I never really felt that I knew them as adults. It seemed like they were so hung up on their childhoods that it haunted their every move.

MinnChica: I totally agree with Lou that it seemed as if not only Adam and Marissa, but all the characters lived in the past. It was odd, and gave the book an off feeling. I just didn’t like it. I also had some major problems with Adam’s best friend Keith and his ex-fiance Delaney. I didn’t like either of them as individuals, nor did their relationship add anything to the story for me, other than manufactured drama.

All in all I was disappointed in this book. I wanted to love it because Calhoun has been a favorite of mine. I didn’t really connect with Adam or Marissa, and I never really felt invested in their relationship. I wanted to connect with them, and I just never really even cared about liking them as either individuals or a couple. The secondary characters didn’t work for me either, and I was bummed that the book overall was a little bit of a let down.

I give Unforgiven a C-

Lou: I just wanted to see more conflict driven from their lives as adults and not from their childhood because it overwhelmed everything. I think Adam was way too forgiving towards Delaney and Keith. They needed their asses booted so badly. All in all I didn’t love Unforgiven but I did love the except of Jaded, the next book in the series featuring Alana and the sexy Chief of Police.

I give Unforgiven a C-.


3 thoughts on “Joint Review – Unforgiven by Anne Calhoun”

  1. I feel like her reputation came from the town thinking she slept with men just to get them to work on her house. Right?

  2. Pingback: Review: Unforgiven by Anne Calhoun | Smexy Books

  3. @Mandi: That was the explanation given, but that didn’t really make sense to me. Most people date others who have similar interests as them, so her dating and sleeping with men who are into construction and working on her house, how is that “whoring” herself out for home repairs? It just didn’t make sense to me. 🙁

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