If you are in the mood for something a little different, may I suggest Unfurled by Elodie Hart? Elodie Hart is a new pen name for author Sara Madderson.
- Unfurled by Elodie Hart
- Triggers: Catholicism (rigid beliefs, zealot parent, Catholic education), virginity, club scenes with religious theme.
Unfurled is a unique read and explores a young woman’s deep seated religious ideologies, her virginity and the challenges of Catholic doctrine as it relates to one’s virginity.
As a person who was raised in the Catholic Church I’ve heard “your virginity is the greatest gift you can give your husband or your wedding day.” This is such a loaded statement, and, honestly incorrect according to what I know of the doctrine of the church. This myth and idolization of virginity is allowed to continue, but more so, the church teaches that when you marry, it is a vocation and the vows are that you are dedicating you entire self, mind, body and spirit, to your spouse, and physically dedicating yourself is part of this. Does the doctrine encourage chastity? Yes, but, the act of dedicating yourself fully, therefore giving the gift of yourself, holds more weight.
In the topic of virginity, this is a more complicated topic because of the twists and turns in the Bible and church doctrine. Virginity and celibacy are tightly woven into the doctrine, historically, one must be a virgin to dedicate themselves to the Church, however, you can not be a virgin, but practice chastity and celibacy and be allowed to join an order dedicated to the church. It’s all very complicated and relies on who is controlling the narrative.
Onto my review!
I loved this book, as always, this author has a great talent for telling a story, and while Unfurled focuses quite a bit on Bella’s sexuality, the love story between Bella and Rafe is sweet one.
Bella’s parents go on a 3 month summer vacation and Bella moves into their beautiful, posh apartment during that time. Bella meets her parent’s new neighbor Rafe who resides in the penthouse. Rafe is sex on a stick and Bella is very attracted to Rafe and Rafe to her. The interesting part of this is that Rafe is attracted to Bella immediately and contemplates Bella’s innocence and is, in fact, initially attracted to her for her lack of experience, however, Rafe does not identify her as a virgin but as someone with minimal sexual experience.
One thing leads to another and Bella’s friend uncovers Rafe as being an owner of a sex club with a program for virgins. Bella has wanted to experience sex and lose her virginity and she’s purses Rafe with questions about the club’s program for virgins. What followed is steamy, steamy, steamy!
Now, this story does have an HEA and I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I highly recommend this book!