It is the eve of the Longest Night. Eliza Baker and the rest of Lord Jayden's servants excitedly prepare for the lavish festival as their masters enjoy a head start on the debauchery that awaits. Eliza's madly in love with Kell, a sweet, deliciously sexy guard. Kell returns her feelings, but is striving to make himself a worthy man before he asks Eliza's father for permission to court her.
To keep the Demon of Winter at bay, an offering must be made during the festival. As the event begins, Lord Kempsly informs Kell that he's offering a special sacrifice this year, and Kell must escort the girl who will offer up her maidenhood for the enjoyment of the crowd. Another guest will select the maiden, and Kell realizes to his dismay the guest is Lord Rakin, a rich and handsome rogue who has his eye on Eliza. But little do any of the men suspect the burgeoning desire the ceremony is awakening in Eliza...
I really wanted to like Eliza's Awakening. But I couldn't. The premise sounded so promising, but I ending up not liking it at all.
First, let me say that there was a positive. The atmosphere the author created was flawless. The sensual feel permeated throughout the story. It was truly brilliant.
But, unfortunately, that's where the good ends.
The summary says that Eliza had to sacrifice her virginity in the ceremony. That's what I thought I was going to get. Instead, I got way more than I bargained for. Let's be completely blunt, in my eyes, she was raped. Twice. While the man who claimed to love her held her in place. It the story, it says that she ended up enjoying it (?). But I didn't believe that. She was scared and unwilling. What is the definition of rape? An act when someone forces sexual advances on an unwilling person. That's exactly what happened. I just couldn't stomach it. And the man who says that he loves her holds her down while this happens. Then takes her virginity in front of the crowd. Didn't it occur to him that this could be absolutely humiliating for her? It was...ugh, I don't even have words. I just couldn't deal with it.
The ending was happy but, honestly, I couldn't even take any happiness from that. Because I was already so upset at what had happened earlier. I don't know if I'm the only one who sees it this way, but, because I did, I just could not like this book, as much as I had hoped to.
I feel terrible to have to be so critical, but I just couldn't take it. I wasn't happy with this book. Aside from the impressive set up of the atmosphere, this book failed for me.
I'm sorry, but, 1/5
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy