Unspoken By Liz McMullen
A sweet college love story.
The story is set on the campus of Mount Holyoke College, and the two main characters, Desiree and Rowan, are both students there. Desiree has turned her back on her family’s fortune, desperate to break away from the path her controlling mother has laid out for her to find her own way in life. She’s interested in history and restoration, and has an ambitious education program and part-time job that take up all of her time. While she’d like to meet that special someone one day, she has no time for that right now.
Rowan is working multiple jobs to pay her way through her courses, and is a rather quiet character, despite the antics of her far more lively roommate, Jodeci. The latter is in a loosely-defined relationship with Suzie, who is Desiree’s roommate. These two try and set Rowan and Desiree up on a number of occasions, much to Desiree’s discomfort. Though it’s not Rowan’s fault, Desiree ends up being pretty rude in her rejection of Rowan’s gentle attempts to get to know her.
The main focus of the story is the romance between them, and how it does develop despite its inauspicious beginnings. It’s a sweet romance, with no particular drama around it. Sure, both of them have some fears about getting involved, but these seem to pass quite quickly. The remaining drama for Rowan is around a car accident that she survived five years previously, and which still haunts her with flashbacks. For Desiree, it’s issues with her controlling mother, who is suitably vile and manipulative, until we discover what her secret is and why she’s the way she is as a result.
There was a lot of confusion for me at the beginning of the book with the rapid introduction of so many characters alongside the main ones. I know this is book one of a series, so perhaps these other characters will all get their say in future books, but it was a little daunting having so many names thrown into the mix so early on. Apart from that, the pacing is good, albeit with a few jumps in logic and timing that had me turning back pages to try and figure out what was going on. It was generally written well, but in places there was more time spent describing the scenery than what the actual characters were feeling or experiencing, and that meant passages that I expected to feel more emotional about didn’t really touch me. However, I did relate to both main characters and their situation, and did get invested in the story of their romance, so in that respects it was a win.
It’s generally an easy read with a sweet story – a little bit of escapism for a dreary day.