CONTENT WARNING (HIGHLIGHT WORDS BELLOW):
ABUSE. RAPE. NON-CONSENSUAL BODY MODIFICATION.
UNDER HER SKIN
Series: Blank Canvas #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release date: February 7th 2017
Her Body is His Canvas
A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret—proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.
Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone…much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.
I want to feel everything.
Under Her Skin is an emotional debut novel that deals with abuse and shows us what life can be like for a survivor. The pace is very slow but consistent, the characters are developed, and the story takes us on a journey that explores the building of a relationship based on trust and intimacy.
Adriana Anders is a new voice in Romance that will definitely captivate readers. This book follows Uma, a woman on the run from her abusive ex, and Ivan, her handsome neighbor who has a few secrets of his own. Their romance is one that will get a lot of dreamy sighs from people, especially with the level of Anders’ writing. Unfortunately for me, the story remained slow and a little boring through most of the book.
Positive points first: the writing is really good. The book has a fantastic beginning that makes you laugh and grasps your attention, and it does a wonderful job introducing some of the characters. The story is told in POVs of Uma and Ivan, and Anders manages to give them both unique voices that read very differently from one another.
The characters are developed, and all have different stories and backgrounds. Even the side characters have their own conflicts, which will definitely be addressed in the next installments. Not to say that some of them aren’t horrible people, because they can be and are.
Which leads me to talk about one of the main factors that fuels Uma’s story: her abuse. I won’t give away details, but I can say the author addresses it in the most respectful manner. It is not brushed off as something minor; Uma deals with it every day and we can see it is a struggle for her to overcome what happened and get her happy ending.
So I’m sad to say I still didn’t fully connect with the story, the main characters, and the romance. There is a little bit of instalove going on, but the relationship between Uma and Ivan develops along the course of the book. Also, nothing about Uma and Ivan as characters call to me, and their inner monologues become rather boring to follow. With that, the slow pacing also becomes an issue, as things took a while to move forward. Ivan can also be very… intense, and not in a way that appeals to me; and Mrs. Lloyd is an entire different problem.
Overall, Under Her Skin is a debut novel to be proud of. Romance fans that like their stories a little dark will certainly love this, and Anders’ writing shows great potential. I’m curious to see what she has in store, and will definitely check out her other works in the future.