Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun: my top romance of 2013


Uncommon Passion gets my vote for best romance of 2013. 

I read the book in July and reviewed it for Dear Author in September. Since then I have probably reread it five times. Every time it blows me away. Ms. Calhoun’s work often has a dark core that in other books, such asUnforgiven, tinges the joy proffered in its happy ending. Though there is grief in Uncommon Passion, the novel is unashamedly joyous. 

The heroine, Rachel, a young woman who has left the fundamentalist community she was raised in order to live a life without soul crushing limits, creates joy, both in the life of the troubled cop, Ben, with whom she falls in love, and in the lives of those lucky enough to read this book. Ms. Calhoun gives Rachel such inherent dignity that every decision Rachel makes is one that feels inevitable and empowering. 

Rachel is such an indelible character it would’ve been easy for her to be more interesting than Ben. And she would be if Ben weren’t hot as hell and entrancingly remote. His struggle to push past the brittle facade he donned years ago is moving and compelling.

Everything about this book works for me. 

It is the sexiest book I read in 2013; the love scenes are riveting and vividly erotic. Ben’s anger, directed at his father and at himself, is heartbreaking and infuriating. Rachel is perfect for Ben which surprises the two of them and the reader. Uncommon Passion is beautifully plotted and gorgeously written. Ms. Calhoun gets all the details right whether describing the way the dance floor looks in a crowded club on a hot summer night or the way siblings talk about their parents.

It’s my favorite book of the year. Well done, Ms. Calhoun.

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