Having read my share of Lila DiPasqua books I should have known better than to start reading Undone after 11pm one night, because I warn you you won't be able to stop. Lila's writing style makes the story flow and her characters are so engaging it was almost 2 am when I noticed I was yawning and that dawn would soon break.
Undone is the 4th book in Lila DiPasqua's Fiery Tales, steamy historical romance series, which are sexy retellings of some classic fairy tales. Undone is Rapunzel's tale, but just so you don't expect something different, Undone is only very loosely based on Rapunzel (here the heroine is cloistered away in a convent instead of a tower), so don't expect a play by play retelling!
We meet our heroine Angelica through the hero's eyes: their meeting is serendipity: a broken carriage wheel, a stop on a deserted road at night and boom, the hero is knocked to the ground by the heroine. *sighs* That scene was both funny and wonderfully romantic.
Angelica is a wonderful combination of different types of heroines: she is a young woman who despite being quiet and humble has a strong backbone and is fiercely independent and protective of others. She isn't afraid to speak out for herself but she is never selfish or self-centered. She is a captivating beauty, but having lived her life in a convent where vanity and beauty aren't venerated she has no idea of her own appeal. She is a truly good heroine, but Lila DiPasqua masterfully paints her character with subtle nuances and avoids the easy danger of Angelica becoming boring or dull due to her goodness.
Simon is a delicious hero: he is a self-made man, the son of a fisherman he is now commander of fourteen ships and has amassed plenty of riches for the king and his country. But besides his accomplishments what is more important is that he is a compassionate, generous and fair man. And despite being an alpha male, he is gentle and vulnerable when it comes to Angelica. He wants to help Angelica and do the honourable thing and resist his attraction and lust for her. He never forces his seduction, lets her dictate the pace and take that final step. It melted my heart how he wanted her to trust him enough to confide in him. And what I also found telling about Simon's character was that even at the beginning of their relationship, when it was mere attraction between them, he was always caring and thoughtful towards Angelica:
"Do you find my company unpleasant? Would you rather dine alone?"
"Unpleasant? No, absolutely not," she quickly assured, wishing at the moment he were old, potbellied, and missing some teeth. "I would be pleased to dine with you, if you consider this suitable attire." She touched her garb.
A slow, gorgeous, knee-weakening smile formed on his appealing face. He leaned in, and in her ear softly he said, "You are beautiful just as you are."
Lila DiPasqua is a mast
er at telling how a spark, a sizzling attraction between two people slowly but passionately becomes more. The emotions, the heat all ensure that the reader will be as affected as the characters, and Simon's steady courting and seduction was irresistible to both Angelica and me:
He dipped his head, bringing his mouth near her ear. "Angelica," he murmured. "I'm not with those other women. I'm here with you. I want you. Can you not feel how much?" How in heaven could she miss that? Just the feel of his delicious length against her caused her sex to clench and ache. "If you want a man, come to me. Day or night... Let me be your lover."
"I want you to come to me, Angelica. I want you, but I'm going to need to know who you are. The door is open and the invitation has been extended. You decide if you are going to accept it or decline it."
If you have already read some of Lila DiPasqua's other stories you might find Undone a bit tame at first, but I assure you Lila will turn up the heat in no time! (And she can write a mere kiss scene so that it is just as scorching hot as a full bodied love scene!) I personally loved how in Undone Simon and Angelica's lovemaking (because it was that even if Simon wasn't yet conscient of his feelings for her at the time) was tender and caring beside being passionate and hot. It was moving and emotional, and thus made it even better.
Undone is somewhat different from Lila DiPasqua's usual stories as it also deals with some darker events, but have no fear,Angelica's story and emotions are told delicately and they really sound authentic, and what made me respect her even more was how her inner strength shone through, that she was stronger than to let her past and someone else's evil deeds define her, and that she could put what happened to her behind her.
I also loved the humour Lila DiPasuqa used to alleviate the angsty parts or the choking sexual tension:
"In a single morning, you have managed to offend the Church and unsettle our system of schooling. Tell me, do you have any plans for the afternoon?"
"No, I believe I'm done for the day."
He froze. Obviously astounded. Then shot to his feet.
"Merde!" He stalked around the chair, putting it between them. "I've been fighting back my desire for you, and you propose I redeem myself by becoming your lover?" She gave a nod.
"On a frequent basis," she added, in case the point was lost on him.
"[...] if a man in my class were to marry a woman in your class, she would be stripped of her status and made insignificant in society. A commoner. A man should bring the woman he marries honor. Not shame. [...] Do you really wish to become one of the 'undesirables'?' he demanded. 'Are you eager to bear children--sired by a man of common birth--that nobles would consider as revolting as a rodent? Do you want to always be at the mercy of your 'betters' and have them treat you and your children as less than human each time you're in their presence? That's the life of a commoner! That is what I, my mother, and everyone in our village endured. Do you want to marry me and have half the Aristos look at you with pity while the rest regard you with disgust?'
She crossed her arms. "Was that a marriage proposal?"
"Good, because it wasn't a very good one, the way you were carrying on about rodents and disgust."
Verdict: Undone is a beautiful love story with surprising emotional depth. I loved the journey Lila DiPasqua took me on and can only recommend you read Undone. If you love fairy tale retellings, historical romances with strong and admirable heroines and swoonworthy honourable heroes, goosebump-causing, pulse race-inducing steamy love stories, Undone is the book for you!
Ending: 7/10 - found it a bit too easy and convenient
Cover: 10/10 - cover perfection! I can stare at this wonder for loong minutes :-)