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Unraveled by Courtney Milan

Unraveled (edition 2011)

by Courtney Milan

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1791566,229 (4.11)8
Authors:Courtney Milan
Info:CreateSpace (2011), Paperback, 274 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2012, historical romance, kindle, Victorian, AAR Best of the Rest

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Unraveled by Courtney Milan (Author)



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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Gosh, I Loved this book. I did have to keep reminding myself that it was a romance and I would get my happy ending dog-gone-it!!

I have gotten to a point where the innocent-forced-into-mistress-status kind of stresses me. I guess because I can see that happening more often than I want to think about, and how is a heroine forced into that situation supposed to not be victimized by the hero?? But Milan did an awesome job of keeping me from absolutely cringing at the idea and then even making me think that for this hero & heroine it works.

Smite deserves someone who will see him for the survivor he is. The one who stands in the gap - and I totally see Miranda standing with him - holding him up when he feels like he could falter. ( )
  CupcakeMom | Jan 29, 2014 |
Whoa! Smite Turner. My favorite of the three brothers and the one most damaged by their mother's insanity. Read the Turner trilogy in order for the most enjoyment. ( )
  LadyWesley | Sep 25, 2013 |
A great series by a great writer. Her characters are so loveable, funny, deep, dark and human. I love this series. I laughed, cried, was scared, and rejoiced. ( )
  coffeenut1992 | May 16, 2013 |
This book is going to be the catalyst for me acquiring Courtney Milan's whole catalog. I've enjoyed her books in the past, but don't read historical romance regularly enough to keep on top of all the new releases. Smite and Miranda were witty, fascinating, and a joy to read. Milan tips hat to a number of romance tropes, then turns them on their head. Be-My-Mistress was beautifully played, Secret-Crime-Organization was a complete surprise to me, and the only thing vaguely resembling a plot moppet was a sullen, gin-sneaking 12 year old boy. Though there was one point in the book where it seemed like Miranda and Smite knew every gay man in Britain, that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story. As Robbie would say, "Brilliant!"

Reread #1 (4/12): I do so love how Milan handles the "big secret" and "damaged hero" tropes.

Reread #2 (7/12): Twice in one year, still loving it! Beginning and end make me impatient for the middle, and I know I should go back and give the other brothers another try, but I just can't tear myself away from Smite and Miranda yet. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
One reason I enjoy romance novels is the inherent tension that abounds when historical attitudes or opinions meet modern readers. Some authors deal with this by giving their characters thoroughly modern attitudes. In other cases, authors try to find a happy medium, creating characters that don't quite fit with either time. My preferred authors tend to take the more difficult and subtle approach of givng characters certain attitudes, whether common or unusual for their historical time and, in the best cases, allowing the narrative to give comment and contrast.

The trouble comes when that commentary is missing, giving the author's tatic blessing to reactionary attitudes in the characters. In Unraveled, I feel Courtney Milan goes this with her heroine's reaction to her father's depression. Miranda is speaking to the hero, Turner.

"I told you I know what broken is. That is broken -- staring at the wall and weeping, while creditors hammer on the door and your troupe slowly slips away, stealing the best costumes in lieu of wages. When your friends leave you and you still cannot move, and nothing your daughter says can break you out of the spell. No man is broken because bad things happen to him. He's broken because he doesn't keep going after those things happen. When you told me about your mother, and how it made you resolved to be the person you are...What I thought was, 'Yes, please, I'll take him.' Because you didn't break."

This is a fabulous piece of characterization, but even as I read it, I winced. It's a prevalent attitude not only of past eras, but of our own, that people with depression should be able to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because the narrative doesn't comment on Miranda's opinion, it silently condones it.

Contrast this with Unraveled's attitude to homosexuality. Too frequently, romance novels and other historical fiction abound with people who accept homosexuality without question, which is dismissive of the struggles that gay men and women have made over the centuries. Here is Miranda's reaction again:

"They hang them," Miranda said. "And it doesn't matter how good the men are, or how much they keep to themselves, or how kind they are to inquiring children." Her voice trembled. "It doesn't matter if they can translate ancient Greek into the most beautiful thing you've ever heard in English. They hang men like that. Do you know what it's like to live in fear of one whisper, one rumour, one false step? Do you know what it is like to fear love, because it will get you killed?" She punched his other shoulder. "Do you know what it's like to never stay in one place, just so nobody become suspicious of you?"

In this case, Milan succeeds in contrasting what was the typical historical attitude with what her characters personally feel toward gay men. She also allows the reader to feel something of the reality of being different in a reactionary world, which is too often the experiences of gay men and women, even today. She shows the tension of change that I love so much in historical fiction.

I would have love to have seen a similar glimmer somewhere in the narrative that might have compared Miranda's accepting attitude toward the men that helped to raise her and her failure to understand that her father was just as helpless to overcome his depression as her friends were to repress their sexuality. ( )
  boxesofpaper | Mar 29, 2013 |
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Book description
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…
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Part of the author's Turner series, the novel is set in Bristol, England in the 1840s and surrounds the activities of a magistrate, Smite Turner known as Lord Justice, and Miranda Darling, a witness in one of his cases that was presented in his courtroom.… (more)

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