Release Review: Unforgiven: Ruth Clampett

Ruth Clampett

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Release Date March 9, 2017

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?

Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie? 

Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.

When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

Graphics From Author's Facebook page
This is a best-friends-to-lovers-to-love story, but it is not an easy one. Dean and Jason have been best friends since they were kids, but Jason has been harboring secrets. When Dean stumbles upon Jason in a compromising position with a football player, he begins to question everything about Jason, their friendship, and even himself. He thought he knew everything about Jason, but now feels lied to. And the more troubling for Dean is the fact that even though he has always been with women, he is now having unexpected urges and feelings about Jason himself. 

The entire dynamic for their friendship is changed. Feelings of guilt, shame, jealousy, fear, anger, and mistrust begin to interfere with their previously easy-going rapport. They both question everything while being more and more drawn together, but also become more confused and anxious about what it could mean for their friendship and future plans.

Jason is not only struggling with his feelings for his best friend, but is also haunted by another secret that has scarred and hurt him. And there are unresolved family issues as well. 

This is a raw and angsty story of friendship taking an unexpected turn and the men coming to terms with the ramifications it has on their lives. 

I did have some issues. I found some of it hard to read due to the events that transpired and some of the dialogue and thought processes could be considered offensive to some. There are a lot of things that could be triggers for some readers(*see triggers below). Some of the ways that Dean tried to rationalize things made me roll my eyes such as him being "situationally gay." I kept wondering if my gay male blog partner would be offended by some of the perceptions or terms used when discussing Jason being gay  (or maybe I was just oversensitive to it). But at the same time I could see these were college aged men dealing with rapid life changes and their own sexuality, and trying to come to terms with it.

This is quite a roller coaster of emotional turmoil and drama. But it is really Jason and Dean's journey of figuring out what they needed and what they truly cared about, and then trying to deal with everything else around them. And also Jason's need to open up, heal, and deal with his past. It was told in dual points of view and did not pull any punches. It was emotional, raw, dramatic, and intense.

Jason will have to come to terms with his past in order to fight for his future and to have a chance at truly moving forward. And everything that Dean believes to be true about himself and Jason will be challenged and will have to be rebuilt. But it was obvious these two had a connection, chemistry, and and strong bond. They definitely grew on me more as the story went on and by the end I was invested in them trying to find their happiness.

*Trigger warnings:  religion, sexual abuse, acts that occur during periods of jealousy that walk the line of cheating, pain, homophobia, etc.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ruth Clampett

Ruth Clampett is a 21st century woman, aspiring to be Wonder Woman…now if she could only find her cape and magic lasso. Meanwhile she’s juggling motherhood, a full-time job running her own art business, and writing romance late at night. Travel is her second obsession after writing, and it’s enabled her to meet reader and writer friends all over the world. She’s happily frazzled, and wouldn’t change a thing about her crazy life. 

The rooms in her home are all painted different colors and her books are equally varied, infusing humor, drama, and passion into the romantic lives of strong heroines and heroes and their worthy and determined counterparts.

Ruth has published eight books: Animate Me, Mr. 365, the Work of Art Trilogy, WET, BURN and Unforgiven. She grew up and still happily resides in Los Angeles, and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who loves traveling with her mom with a sketchbook in hand.


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