Unspoken Vow is the highly anticipated second instalment of the Steele Brothers duet. The first one, Unwritten Law, was a comparably light story featuring Law – the first of the Steele brothers. In Unspoken Vow, we get to follow his twin Anders. And as readers of Law’s book knows, Anders’ story is much darker.
Anders is fighting to overcome an experience in his past that has left him traumatized and unable to live the life he wants. He keeps himself apart and avoids everything that may trigger a panic attack, which among other things include built, sexy guys. But this one big, hunky lawyer – Brody Wallace – just wont take the hint and stop asking him out. Then, when Anders is forced to move out of his appartment, he winds up living in Brody’s spare room.
This book deals with a whole set of heavy issues. Domestic abuse, PTSD, anxiety disorder. So, it comes with trigger warnings, as it should. But despite the tough subject, the story is also hopeful in the most heartwarming way.
It’s an amazing and emotional read. It’s heartbreaking at times, but Finley successfully balance the heavy of mental issues with the light of a budding romance. However, getting the viewpoint of both Anders and Brody is frustrating as hell, knowing they want the same thing but having Anders traumatic past constantly get in the way.
Also, the steamy parts are inspired. It’s hard (!) to go wrong with double-the-dick of course. The M/M romance genre is nice that way. And even though the idea of swallowing might not appeal to me outside of fiction, the light-bondage-no-spill scene in the chair was awesome.
But even though I’m a big fan of hot encounters, in this book nooky takes a backseat to the serious issues. It’s still a romance, only a less lighthearted one. So, it differs quite a lot from Finley’s earlier work. However, despite the gravity – and entirely true to form – she still manages to be hilarious. Meaning I didn’t only cry during this read, I laughed out loud a lot too.
The fact that Anders’ trauma didn’t have a magical solution in the end is a great plus in my book. There aren’t any easy fixes for PTSD or anxiety, and Finley keeps it real. As the HEA-sucker I am though, I would have wished for some highly unlikely, karmic justice for Anders’ ex. But knowing myself, I’m guessing that if Finley had indeed added that to the story, I would probably have griped about the improbability of it.
I loved this book. The writing is brilliant and I immediately fell in love with the characters. The story sucked me in and kept me enthralled until the very end. And as is the case for all great reads, reaching the end feels like a kind of loss where you need some time to grieve before you can move on.
So, in conclusion, to help out readers everywhere, I would suggest 10 mandatory epilogue chapters in all romance novels. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?