Illicit, sexy and unputdownable
Author: Cara McKenna
Publisher: Piatkus, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Releases: 6th November, 2014
This is my first time reading a Cara McKenna book and it most certainly won’t be the last. The premise of the story goes as such that Anne is a librarian but every Friday she has to go to prison to teach convicts and takes classes. There she meets inmate 806627, Eric Collier, who with his smouldering looks and his penetrating gaze won’t leave Anne’s mind. One day he gives her a letter about how he feels about her and hopes she replies back. Anne almost gives the letter away to the prison guards but in a last minute decision, she decides to read it herself. Hence begins one of the most unusual, sexy and illicit courtship I’ve ever read about.
I loved Hard Times. The situation with the forbidden romance kept me awake pretty much all night. Anne has had a difficult past with an abusive boyfriend who left her cut off from her own sexuality for 5 years until she meets Eric. Shy, timid but wanting she starts the affair with Eric who funnily enough is her safest option. Only able to see each other once a week, with guards around the room, every breath, a glance and even the smallest touch ignites a passion in her.
Eric on the other hand was such a beautiful person. Loyal, protective and almost brutally honest (apart from that one time), I loved how in a few simple sentences he is able to bare his heart and his most intimate secrets.
My favourite bit of the whole book was the letters between Anne and Eric. The letters were simple and basic but they were filled with raw desire and longing. I challenge anyone who would say that the letters did not move them. The whole way through my heart was doing little flips and just like Anne I was looking forward to each and every one of those letters. Every time Eric began with ‘Darling’ I swear I could hear my heart beat skip a little.
Admittedly the second half of the book is not as fast paced as the first half. The story takes a slightly different direction but it explores Anne’s comfort levels with dating a real life ex- con. Eric is sometimes brutally honest about his feelings and it took a while for Anne to really come to terms with the man who her letters and the man who committed the crime.
I absolutely loved and adored this book from start to finish. It kept me awake for most of the night and it’s a testament to the talent of Cara McKenna that I finished this book in less than 24 hours and fit in work too. I would be really surprised if anyone is able to take their eyes off the pages of Hard Times when Eric is writing those beautiful letters.
I’d recommend it to all romance readers who want to read a book which is actually exciting, sexy with a solid story and lush characters. I’ll soon be digging out the previous book by Cara McKenna as this is an author to watch out for.
ARC provided by Paitkus, UK
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