Rameau’s ramblings: What can I do to help kick off the Romance May? Give you another Milan review! Naturally.
Originally posted on Goodreads December 14th 2011.
Smite Turner is renowned for his single-minded devotion to his duty as a magistrate. But behind his relentless focus lies not only a determination to do what is right, but the haunting secrets of his past—secrets that he is determined to hide, even if it means keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Until the day an irresistible woman shows up as a witness in his courtroom…
Miranda Darling isn’t in trouble…yet. But she’s close enough that when Turner threatens her with imprisonment if she puts one foot wrong, she knows she should run in the other direction. And yet no matter how forbidding the man seems on the outside, she can’t bring herself to leave. Instead, when he tries to push her away, she pushes right back—straight through his famous self-control, and into the heart of the passion that he has long hidden away…
Having read Unveiled and Unclaimed both, I knew what I was getting myself in for. That’s why this review is littered with comments about the anxious wait I was made to suffer until self-published Unraveled was released. You’d think the author would have the decency to write something bad to make it up to me, to make my part as reviewer easier, but no. Damn you Milan, how dare you make me love Smite Turner even more than I thought I would? And Miranda Darling and Ghost? How dare you!
Of the three Turner brothers Smite is the most scarred. His skin may be intact, but inside he carries the weight of the water that once nearly crushed and suffocated him. Inside he’s an impenetrable fortress that stands alone under the storms of his nightmares. Inside he’s cold, but far from dead.
Ghost, the puppy, may have started the thawing, but it takes a blazing sun like Miranda Darling for Smite to forget himself and break the barriers he’s erected just to be able to function. For two decades he’s spent simply existing, but when Miranda flattens him with few sharp remarks Smite finds himself wanting to live again.
She’s naive yet worldly as only a child grown amidst actors can be. She’s a survivor, but not hardened through and through. She has a sharp tongue and wicked mind, but she’s also loyal and too trusting. She’s a ray of sunshine that lights up the room, but will scorch if faced directly. Miranda is just the right woman to get under Smite Turner’s skin.
What starts with a lie and on the grimy streets of Bristol, moves to shining marble halls and into a bedroom. While they are discovering new physical boundaries, an unexpected accord forms between the two lovers. Miranda finds herself attracted to a decent man and Smite opens up to her in a way he hasn’t been able to do with anyone else.
I could quote the whole book and it would make more sense than this review so far.
What you need to know is that Smite is a diligent magistrate in Bristol with an unerring memory. He recognises Miranda and stops her from committing perjury, he also follows her to warn her not to try that particular trick in his court again. What Smite doesn’t realise is that Miranda has her own set of problems and very little choice. She’s bartered her life and skills to the Patron for personal protection for herself and the boy living with her.
Smite might be able to remove Miranda from the dirty and sooty streets, but he can’t free her from her obligations. And here, Milan surprises positively. Instead of hiding her troubles and trying to deal with them by herself, Miranda faces Smite and confides in him risking everything now dear to her. Of course this doesn’t stop Smite from reacting rather stupidly, but he has the baggage to excuse it.
Despite the slight feel of repetition in the beginning–which might be because I kept putting the book down and rereading to get where I’d left off–the text carried me through the story like a gentle way pushing me to the shore. The way Milan writes makes days feel like hours and weeks feel like years. By the time I finished reading the last chapter I couldn’t believe how far both characters and their extended families had come. It felt like I had read the first pages a lifetime ago instead of few hours.
I know I’m forgetting something important–like the laughs–but for the life of me I can’t think of anything else without spoiling the journey. This is the best I can do for a five star review and I know it’s not nearly enough.
P.S. If anything, this story shows you how important a comma can be.