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book cover Limecello’s review of Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
Contemporary erotic romance released by Berkley Trade 5 Jan 10

I loved this book. Loved. If 2010 is anything like 2009, Coming Undone will be part of my top 10 reads of the year. This was a contemporary novel that hearkened back to why I started reading romances in the first place. A heavy focus on relationships, both romantic, and general interpersonal ones. Family, friends, community. Then of course there’s the love story. Fantastic. The moving of the hero and heroine towards each other, and falling in love. Heart wrenching scenes, and words that come alive. I found myself speaking out loud in response to certain scenes or situations – I couldn’t help commenting, I was that invested in the story.

Normally, I don’t like a heroine with a sad past. Or, I don’t like that anymore because its so overused. I sometimes wonder if it’s against some secret author code, that the heroine have a relatively normal, well adjusted past. Admit it – it’s become a trope. (And it seems with Ms. Dane in particular.)

However, here, I was ok with it for Elise. She’s a ballerina. While I’m not friends with any professional ballerinas, I have friends of friends who are. And close friends while I was younger who were serious dancers. It’s like an alternate universe. Taking that into consideration, Elise was almost boring. I liked that – she’s normal, and grounded, and incredibly well adjusted. Hooray for her! She’s also got a rather crazy past. I know it’s cliche, but artists are weird. She was married to one. Living in New York. I can accept all of that. More importantly, I can believe that the events her past happened, and aren’t that rare.

In a way, Brody is the “less realistic” character. He raised his brother and sister – two incredibly successful musicians, he’s a tattoo artist… and frankly I want one. A Brody, that is. He’s smart, caring, nurturing, mature- pretty much everything you’d want in a guy. He has his own house, is domesticated, loves his family, owns a business that is doing well… and of course, he’s hot. And is related to rock stars. He’s so perfect that of course he’s fiction. And only fiction. However, Brody is believable too. He screws up like any person will. Brody also has a few incredibly dense idiot guy moments. He’s kinda clueless. It’s endearing, yet frustrating.

I really liked how family was such a big part of this book. Both blood, and those you choose to incorporate into your family circle. Personally, that’s something I identify with very well, and I think most readers will also. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, who in a way become your family.

One very minor thing that stuck out to me, and resonated with me – is how Brody’s tattoos don’t show when he’s dressed up. He goes to court with Elise, and his tattoos don’t show. Even though generally his tattoos are prominently displayed. I liked that. The way I interpreted it, is that Brody is grounded, and realistic. Sure, he loves his tattoos – he loves his work and takes pride in it. They’re something he shows proudly.

On the other hand, he also knows that general opinion is less favorable towards tattoos. Especially a more conservative outlook, and perhaps particularly in court, where things are just more formal. Brody doesn’t whine about it, or rail at the injustice or unfairness of it. He knows and understand that people judge based on appearance. Right or wrong, it happens. This is such a tiny, minor detail. Just one sentence in the novel – but to me, it just gave the characters, and the story so much more depth. And that’s just one example.

My only “beef” with the book really, is the gratuitous sex between Erin and her two “husbands.” It was unnecessary… but still fit. I just associate it as being the random “boob shot” that was and is so prevalent in tv shows and movies. Erin is an incredibly important part of the book, as are Todd and Ben. Actually, as the relationship is developed with their triangle, it worked- and provided a nice break from the main story. So… basically, I have no real complaints.

I loved this book. I loved it so hard. While I did read the previous book, Laid Bare, it was not my favorite by Ms. Dane. It’d help if you read the books in order, but I don’t think it’s necessary. If you want to skip the first, fine – great. But don’t skip this one. I’m serious. Read this book. Make your friends read this book.

This is a terrific romance. In fact, my review is so vague because I want you to go buy this book and read it. And then come back here and comment so we can squee like little girls over it.

LimecelloGrade: A+



Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.

Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.

Read an excerpt here.