Despite having found the world to live for in her daughter, Allie is still unable to reconcile the events that happened to her with the ability to move on and have a healthy relationship. Thus, she “treats” herself to regular nights out in which rough, impersonal encounters are on the agenda. Yet Colin’s refusal to play to her game shakes the foundations on which she’s premised the last several years of her life. Lin shows a side to romance that is often lacking in traditional romance novels; her characters interact on a largely (though not purely) physical level, yet even once they have acknowledged the presence of feelings on which to build a real relationship, the sex remains the same. There’s no need to sanitize it, to make their previous experiences seem shameful in comparison. Too often in romantic fiction, it appears that authors are reticent to portray a loving, romantic relationship as overtly sexual as well.
While I don’t usually feature erotica titles on this blog, so many of my trusted fellow bloggers have been gushing about one new release in particular this week that I had to see what all the fuss is about. Having read Giving It Up by Amber Lin, I can definitely envision myself checking out some more of Lin’s books in the future.
I believe that many romance readers are reluctant to take that one scary step into reading erotica because they fear that the author will forsake substance for sex. Anyone who has allowed that thought to influence their reading decisions need not fear, because as Lin shows in her steamy new book, sex scenes can be pretty substantial in and of themselves. I was immediately drawn into the premise underlying Lin’s story. Allie, still struggling years later to cope with being raped by her best friend, believes that Colin is just another notch to add to her bedpost.
That being said, I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development to aid in showing how Allie and Colin’s connection grew from its tenuous beginnings. I’m a huge fan of dialogue, and so I was somewhat disappointed to find that the majority of Allie and Colin’s screen time plays out as narration instead. I felt this stunted the development of their mutual understanding, as it was difficult to assess Colin’s emotions when we only get impressions of them through Allie’s eyes. Dialogue serves as an objective lens, revealing sides to a character that the narrator doesn’t pick up on. I also found some of Allie’s decisions somewhat troubling, even divorced from the confusion caused by her own personal issues. For instance, I had a hard time believing she would so readily allow a virtual stranger not only into her life, but into her actual home where her daughter was. Perhaps had Lin dedicated a bit more page time to Colin’s interactions with Allie’s daugher, this wouldn’t have been such a glaring criticism.
I’m also curious to learn a bit more about Colin’s brother Phillip. Lin leaves several loose ends dangling without explanation, so maybe she plans to follow these up with a subsequent release. Overall, I quite enjoyed Giving It Up and would love to see Lin explore a more dialogue-heavy story for her next effort.