Review: Under Her Skin

Under Her Skin Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb for this book does not do the book justice. The cover of this book is pretty fantastic and captures the essence of this book perfectly. New to me author, Ms. Anders wows me and breaks my heart a little. She is like Megan Hart for me; I can only handle her books once in a while. If I was on steady diet of Ms. Anders and Ms. Hart, I'd probably slit my wrists and end it. I loved this book.

The characters are so well written. Uma is a woman who is frightened and obviously abused by her husband. The amount of abuse is written all over her skin, literally. Uma may have been a victim but she does not define herself as one. She is a survivor and she proves it, even without the support of her "loving" mother. Oh how I loathed her mother and at the end of the book I wanted to scream at the mother, "Are you happy now? Hope you suffer and you don't deserve a daughter like Uma!" I digress as I become all ragey thinking about this worthless mother who should be shot in the gut and left to slowly perish.

Ivan is also a complicated man. He has a past that does not put him in the best of lights. He is the tarnished knight with a heart of gold. Ms. Anders does an excellent job of showing through actions rather then telling us how "fabulous" Ivan can be. I loved that about this book, how well each character's actions showed what kind of person they truly are... even the bizarre woman who hired Uma. None of these characters are as they seem. Once the reader learns more about them, it is clear there is much more to each of their stories.

I will admit, the story did start out a little slow, but quickly pulled me in. This is probably because I enjoy dark stories of abuse and pain. I like stories that triumph over traumatic situations, and this is definitely one to remember. I do want to mention one little item. There may be some who will link the abuse Uma suffered under her husband's hands as why BDSM is horrible and abusive. I want to make clear that the view of BDSM in this story is hostile and not what those in the lifestyle agree to. Does what happen to Uma happen in the lifestyle? Yes. However, it isn't non-con and it is with consent. Because Uma is clearly not consenting to permanent marking and other "play" that her husband thinks is "fun" for both, this is a line crossed and I would never condone it. In fact, I don't consider this BDSM or kinky. Just a cruel man who is abusive and supported by his mother-in-law.

Even though this story contains flashbacks and explanations of abuse, there is still erotic sex in it. How? Because Ivan is a loving man who can coax the frightened Uma back to the land of consensual sex. It's a beautiful thing to witness as Uma slowly opens up again and learns to trust. The trust between Uma and Ivan is tentative at first and does get tested several times before the strong bond forms. The trust helps to bring them on a path of healing. Even through the darkness, there is light in the humour and laughter Ivan and Uma find together.

The ending of this story is righteous as I pump my fist in glee when Uma confronts the monsters in her past and triumphs. Loved it! I hope the monsters suffer a thousand painful torments. This dark romance is recommended to readers who believe damaged people can be healed.

*provided by Edelweiss

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