Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Joanna Chambers - Unnatural

Captain Iain Sinclair. Perfect son, perfect soldier, hero of Waterloo. A man living a lie. The only person who really knows him is his childhood friend, scientist James Hart. But they ve been estranged since Iain brutally destroyed their friendship following a passionate encounter.
Iain is poised to leave the King s service to become an undercover agent in India. Before he leaves his old life behind, he s determined to reconcile with James. An invitation to a country house party from James s sister provides the perfect opportunity to pin the man down.
James has loved Iain all his life, but his years of accepting crumbs from Iain s table are over. Forgiving Iain is one thing restoring their friendship is quite another.
In the face of James s determined resistance, Iain is forced to confront his reasons for mending the wounds between them. And accept the possibility that James holds the key to his heart s desire if only he has the courage to reach for it.

Comment: This book is a sequel to the wonderfully written Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers, which I absolutely loved! This book features Iain, a secondary character friend of Murdo and how he finally decides to admit his tastes and feelings for James, a friend from his youth but who grew to be someone he was always been in love with.

Iain is a captain who decides to finish his commission with the Navy and is thinking about going to India. His father knew about his preferences and didn't approve and he doesn't want to cause problems to his family so he decides to go away, but before that he wants to say goodbye and accepts one invitation to return home hoping to see James, his childhood friend and someone with whom he had bad words the last time they saw each other. Iain wants closure but will James forgive him and accept their friendship again?

I liked the idea of this book, I'm not such a big fan of the friends to lovers trope but considering Iain and James weren't friendly anymore, I had hopes and wanted to see them establish a romantic relationship now. Sadly, not only did we have all the scenes of their friendship in front of us and how things were before and after they got more intimate but because they were happy once and now had to become again, I was stuck with a lovers reunited plot along the way, which is probably the trope I dislike the most.

I knew they were at odds and it would be possible we could have glimpses or conversations about their estrangement but things went one step further: this book is a continuous going back and forth in time to when they were innocent children until today where they admit they love each other.
I'm afraid I found this boring and uninteresting!
Yes, it's important to have an idea of why things changed but couldn't we just know that? Did we had to go through all the scenes and details?
One part showing the past, one the now, then again the past, then the now, we are constantly jumping from year to year and we never get a full notion on either. I kind of understand the tactic but to me this isn't the best way to narrate a story because we never focus on what really matters and the thing I would say should be center stage, meaning their relationship right now, feels less important and almost like secondary notion.

Iain is an interesting character as is James but seeing them change through the years isn't as appealing as that. Why are they feeling like that now? Why should their choices matter? I think the idea gets lost and their reunion lacks impact.
I understand Iain's motivations to want to hide his true wishes and why he feels he has to protect James. I also get why James is more reckless and not afraid to say his mind at a time where his dreams were in reach but then Iain breaks his heart. I get the idea but all the things we have from their life before they went different ways only seems to be there to highlight one thing and not because it truly matters for the story. And in all the past scenes we got why each one was as special as they claimed, except for proximity and attraction.

The end was rushed, Iain conveniently realized something in the end of the book when it would have been obvious all the time (no, not his love for James) but then the story had already lost its impact to me.
I liked all the previous books by the author I've read, I liked seeing the characters from the trilogy that started this spin off, but overall, the narrative structure disappointed me and the way things are told didn't win me over. 
Grade: 5/10

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