Everything about this book is refreshing! I think I’m addicted…
From its honest style of writing, to the author’s unique approach to storytelling, Arouse defies the typical romance novel formula. Rather than conforming to what would be considered ‘right’, this book focuses on what is real…and real life isn’t always pretty. Instead of shooting for ‘predictable’, this book became relatable…and, simply put, I loved it.
To be completely honest, I had mixed feelings about this book at first; it initially felt like an extremely mundane tale of a once exciting marriage drifting into a state of jeopardy. The characters used sex to deal with their issues, and I felt detached from the entire scenario.
However, as the story progressed, I became more connected—until I was completly wrapped up in every word and absorbed by every emotion. There was no highly profound plot. No bells and whistles. But this simple, touching story hooked me into captivity…and that was the beauty of it.
Olivia and Dean’s relationship has only ever known ‘perfection’. Dean exudes self-control and confidence and is intent on supporting Liv–and Liv happily basks in the safety of his fierce protection. When real life relationship issues arise, they are both ripped off the pedestals the other has created, and neither of them is equipped to deal with the heartaches of broken trust and betrayal.
Dean has been in control of all the barbed-wire things that could hurt me. And I have been willing to let him be my shield, to keep the bad stuff away.
Except now the bad stuff is like quicksand beneath my feet, pulling me under, and my husband can’t rescue me from it.
I loved that this book alternated between past and present settings, and the occasional switch to dual perspectives was a nice touch. The tone of this story varied a bit; on one hand, it was erotic and slightly dark—but then there was a peaceful, undeniable innocence that formed a contrast with the rest of the story, successfully enhancing it.
The characters, although well-fleshed out, displayed a certain reserve—even from the reader. It was as if we had to work a little to get to know them better, and I thought that fell nicely into the flow of the story. This in no way limited my understanding; it felt intentional and strategic and I enjoyed being slowly introduced to their lives.
I truly loved Dean and Olivia—both individually and as a couple. Their touching story was realistically portrayed and there was an honest beauty in their flaws. Let’s face it, life’s much easier when we’re not expected to be perfect; why should our fictional characters be entirely faultless? A beautiful, authentic read!
▪ Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
▪ Steam Caliber: Maximum steam
▪ Romance: Passionate but damaged
▪ Characters: Protective, alpha hero. Innocent but aware heroine.
▪ Plot: A once passionate couple meet at crossroads in their weakening marriage.
▪ Writing: Simple yet compelling and addictive.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Dual perspectives.
▪ Cliffhanger: None. Open ending.
▪ Next Installment: Follow up has been released.
(originally read & reviewed on March 10, 2013)