You know how you go into a book expecting one thing, and then end up with something else entirely? That's what happened to me when I read You Are Mine.
Here's what happened:
I was low on reading material. Really low. I was searching through NetGalley for something (anything) to read, and nothing was looking very good. I'll admit I was getting desperate, and requested a few things that I normally would have given a pass.
Including this book.
Because at first glance, I thought it was going to be a cheesy bondage/kidnapping romance about a wizard who liked to spank chicks with his magic paddle.
Admittedly, there are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon...
But, wow. I couldn't have been more wrong about this book if I had tried!
You Are Mine is actually a fairly heavy story, and filled to the brim with social commentary about women's rights. Now, in this country, it's thankfully not much of an issue. At least not to the extent described in this book. We've all heard the horror stories of things that go on around the world, and to be honest, I usually avoid reading the books that describe what it's like. Frankly, it makes me ill.
But what Ms. Falor did was weave an element of fantasy into her story, and that allowed me to keep reading something that I normally wouldn't have been able to stomach.
In this world, only the males can use magic. One of the things that makes a woman valuable to a man is the level of magic in her blood, which allows her to breed stronger children. Serena has been tested and it turns out that she's quite the catch. Only, it's not like she gets her choice of suitors. Her father sells her to the highest bidder, not caring what happens to her at his hands. In fact, he actively wants the man to abuse her. It's the norm for their society, and men who are not heavy-handed with their wives are looked down upon as weak. Serena's entire life has been filled with punishments and abuse by her father for non-existent wrongs that he's gladly doled out. So far, she has been able to keep him from hurting her sisters too much, but she knows that once she is sold to her new husband there will be no one to protect them.
Through a series of interesting events, Serena ends up in the possession of a warlock from a barbarian country. Of course, she thinks it will be a fate worse than death, because if the men in her civilized country are so cruel, how much worse will it be with this man?
The fact that she can't see obvious kindness in this man could have been a very tedious and eye-rolling thing to read. But the author does such an excellent job of putting the reader into her shoes, and showing what systematic years of abuse has done to her, that it comes off as totally believable.
As far as this being a cheesy PNR? Yeah, no. There's not even one sex scene in this book. It was just an amazingly well told story with a dab of romance. I absolutely could not put it down. And it made me think...
I know we always celebrate the women who fought for the rights that we now take for granted as ours. And we should! But let's face facts, if there weren't men who fought to change things too, nothing would have happened. There were guys who went against the conventional beliefs of their times, and stuck up for their daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers. I would imagine that took quite a bit of guts.
Anyhoo. Read this one if you get the chance, 'cause it totally blew me away.