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Review: Unlocked by Courtney Milan

May 30, 2011

A Review, Courtney Milan, Historical Romance, Uncategorized

spacer Unlocked by Courtney Milan
Historical Romance
May 31, 2011
E-Book, Novella

Reviewed by Mandi

Favorite Quote: “If I’m to list the things I want, I want to own your quiet possession,” he continued, “and drive the wariness from your eyes.”

Do you remember when you were young and a kid would pick on you or tease you and your parents would say – oh, that’s just because deep down, he or she really likes you? This is Lady Elaine’s life – except she has to endure it as an adult, in the eyes of the ton. Elaine has quite a laugh – some say it sounds like a horse with a pig’s snort and they have nicknamed her Lady Equine. Evan Carlton, the Earl of Westfield pretty much knew he was in love with Elaine the first time he met her. But he was immature, and didn’t want anyone to know he was in love, so he made fun of her. He teased her and he made her feel small, and embarrassed. After awhile, his entire group of friends would turn and say hurtful things to Elaine, Evan felt bad. Really bad. He fled England to travel abroad. He became a mountaineer and learned the true value of friendship.

Ten years later, he is back in England, and at a house party, in the presence of Elaine. Now he wants to make amends, but he has much ground to cover. A mere apology is not going to make all those hurtful years go away. The teasing is actually still occurring from many in the ton, and Evan can’t believe he was ever a part of it. So he decides to become friends with her. And it is a wonderful journey to read.

Unlocked is a novella by Courtney Milan that is an amazing read. It affected me so much, I just want to read it over and over again. Elaine immediately cringes inward when she sees Evan at the party. She lives her life always planning how to stay out of everyone’s way. Wearing pale, muted dresses or she takes notice in the décor so it doesn’t look like she wants to dance. But once the teasing starts, she uses laugher as her defense.

Her laugh had been the cause of their torment all those years ago. And so when Elaine laughed without holding back, she sent them a message.

You cannot break me. You cannot hurt me. You cannot even made me notice you.

But she does hurt. And she does break. I also find it very intriguing that her mother is a social outcast. Extremely intelligent in mathematics and science, she is slow in other parts of her life. She doesn’t get sarcasm. She thinks if people are laughing they are happy, not laughing at her. So not only is Elaine the butt of jokes, but her mother even more so. And Elaine gets embarrassed for her mother. And her mother is not there to understand the insults both of them receive. It is this constant circle that exhausts Elaine to no end.

For as much pain as Evan has caused, there is still attraction. But when Evan starts to make amends, the trust is so slow to build. Elaine wants to be embraced, but in the back of her mind, she thinks he is just setting her up for ridicule in the next few minutes. I love how hard he has to work to get to a place where a romance can develop. This is a pretty short story and about halfway through we jump ahead nine months – which makes their basis for a friendship and eventual romance very believable.

Unlocked show us such exquisite pain from both the hero and the heroine. It is a really beautiful story of acceptance, forgiveness and of course, love.

(And it’s only $.99) spacer

Rating: A

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Author’s Website

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About Mandi

Mandi lives two lives. One at home with a hubs and two boys. Another surrounded by romantic happily ever afters and sometimes if she is feeling daring, a dangerous urban fantasy world. She has collected numerous fictional boyfriends along the way that keep her quite busy. While she has many favorite authors, on her auto-buy list currently are Courtney Milan, Cara McKenna, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, KA Mitchell, Jim Butcher and Kaki Warner....just to name a few.

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15 Responses to “Review: Unlocked by Courtney Milan”

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    tori Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Wonderful review Mandi! I found this on GR and absolutely loved it. So much hurt yet it resolves itself in a believable manner. LOVE the quote. My first time reading Milan and I plan on reading more of her work.


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      Mandi Says:
      May 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Oh yes – you need to read her previous books. So darn good!


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    Mary Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Wow, thanks for reviewing this – I hadn’t heard of it. I follow your blog in my reader so I’ll follow the Kindle link to buy it! I really enjoyed Unveiled and look forward to the rest of CM’s books.


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    Jennifer Eis Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I have read Unveiled and enjoyed that! For some change, I’m picking up this one too. So glad you posted about it.


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    blodeuedd Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

    It sounds so good, but dunno if I could be forgiving if he has been cruel


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    Helyce Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    As you know, I’m not big into historicals, but I really think I could get behind this one. I’m a sucker for this type of story. And, hmmm, I noticed the addition of Khal Drogo on the sidebar. Guess you’ve gotten caught up on Game of Thrones?


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    Dr J Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I am always attracted to stories that tell about the “wake-up call” people receive when they finally grow up and have to face the destructive things they do and say in their immaturity. This sounds like such a good read. I come and go with historicals even though they were the firsts genre in Romance literature that I gorged on years ago. I like Milan’s writing as well, so will have to get this one.


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    Sarah Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I couldn’t believe how much emotion Courtney Milan packed into this novella – I cried multiple times. And she did such a great job of making Evan’s teenage actions/motivations seem realistic, though obviously immature. This was a really great read.


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    Sophia (FV) Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    This sounds lovely. I’ll be reading it today! Great review Mandi.


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    KC/Smokinhotbooks Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I’m buying it right now, I swears! Screw Memorial Day bbq!


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    Danielle Says:
    May 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    This sounds fantastic (and only $0.99??) off to buy it right now!.

    Great review, as always spacer


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    Aurian Says:
    May 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Sounds like a very emotional read, and I can relate to the heroine for sure. But to forgive him? That is a lot to ask.


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      Mandi Says:
      June 2, 2011 at 7:20 am

      It is a lot to ask but it is very believable


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    Anita Says:
    June 2, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Great review, thanks! What a gem the novella is… what an absolute treasure.



  1. Unlocked by Courtney Milan | Janicu's Book Blog - February 8, 2012

    [...] since).   Buy: Amazon (kindle) | B&N (eBook)   Other reviews: Dear Author – A Smexy Books – A Cheeky Reads – “an amazing story” Book Girl of Mur y Castell – [...]

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