Book Review of Just One Touch

Just One Touch
Just One Touch
Author: Debra Mullins
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
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~ An unusual book for the historical romance genre (includes *spoilers*) (3.5 stars) ~

This is my first book by Debra Mullins and I am definitely interested in reading more of her work in the future. JUST ONE TOUCH is very unusual in the historical romance genre in that it tackles - and pretty successfully, IMO - the issue of rape/sexual abuse. This is not something that is written about much in this genre and when I have read a book where a character has been raped or abused, I've found that authors often don't deal with it *at all* to my satisfaction and tend to want to gloss over the very real and lengthy process of recovery and healing.

This book is an emotion-driven book and although it has a bad guy subplot, the real focus is the loving and trusting relationship that develops slowly but surely between Rogan and Caroline. They are both "damaged" and have much to overcome, especially in their relationship with each other, and Mullins does a great job of portraying this believably and sensitively. My only criticism would be that some of the dialogue between the hero and heroine was a little too corny/sappy for me.

MAIN CHARACTERS (contains *spoilers*):
Caroline (20) was kidnapped five years ago and the men who kidnapped her sexually abused her. Since then, she has flinched from touching anyone (except for her father, the Duke of Belvingham) and has remained secluded in the country, staying away from society and strangers. Rogan comes from a long line of amazing horse trainers, but all of those in his family who have the gift of this connection also invariably have a raging temper. Rogan fears this side of himself and, once he is married to Caroline, is anxious that his temper never be a source of fear for her.

Rogan's patience with and love for Caroline can be seen immediately and watching them help each other battle their demons is truly touching. Although Caroline is a somewhat timid heroine at the beginning, when she decides to take control of her life and fight her memories of the past with Rogan's help, we see her start to come out of her shell. She becomes much stronger and isn't cowed by Rogan or afraid to stand up to him - even when he is angry. The progression occurs slowly enough that one doesn't doubt the believability or authenticity of such a change.

SUMMARY (from inside page):
"Rogan Hunt would like to forget his disreputable history and rebuild his family's ruined estate in peace and solitude. But when a damsel in distress requires rescuing from highwaymen, he dares not turn away - especially when she is Lady Caroline Ware, the enchantress he has admired for years from afar. Yet when her father offers Rogan her hand in gratitude, the reformed rogue is taken aback, for he never believed this treasure could truly be his...

A marriage to the notorious Rogan Hunt? The handsome scoundrel puzzles her, terrifies her. But in the night, his words are kind and caring, his touch tender and patient, arousing a desire she never thought she could feel for any man. But there is danger in his seduction - for surrendering to Rogan's love could court a peril that waits in the shadows of her past ... and destroy a remarkable passion before it takes wing."

Other books I've read that tackle the issue of sexual abuse include: Gaelen Foley's THE DUKE (Knight Miscellany, Book 1) - I like a lot of her work, but how she dealt with the heroine's rape really upset me and was inadequate IMO; also by Foley, THE PIRATE PRINCE (Ascension Trilogy, Book 1), which is not her best book but is an enjoyable read; WORTH ANY PRICE (Bow Street, Book 3) by Lisa Kleypas - she's my favorite historical romance writer and this is one of her best books; and THE LEAST LIKELY BRIDE by Jane Feather and the last book in Feather's Brides Trilogy.