Tuesday 24 June 2014

Wounded by Jasinda Wilder

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: December 16th 2012
POV: Alternating - First-person, Present tense
Smut-O-Meter: 7 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


War has taken everything from me. My family. My home. My innocence. In a country blasted by war and wracked by economic hardship, a young orphan girl like me has very few options when it comes to survival. Thus, I do what I must to live, to eat, and I try very hard to not consider the cost to my soul. My heart is empty, and my existence brutal.

The one impossibility in my life is love.

And then I meet him.

War is hell. It takes a chunk out of a man's very soul to do the kinds of things war demands of you. You live with fear, you live with guilt, and you live with nightmares. If you haven't been through it, there's no understanding it. War leaves no room for love, no room for tenderness or softness. You gotta be hard, closed off, and ready to fight every moment of every day. Lose focus for a split second, and you're dead.

Now the only thing that can save me is her.


This story is incredibly beautiful and heartwarming, despite all the war and death going on around them, despite what Rania is forced to do to survive. The blurb for this is a bit vague and I wasn't really sure what to expect from Rania and Hunter's relationship. I am so glad with what I found in this book.
When Rania was 12 years-old, she killed an American soldier to protect her brother, and has felt guilty about it ever since. So when she finds another young American soldier with bright blue eyes, dying in the street, she drags him home and takes care of him, tends his wounds, and ultimately saves his life as repayment for the life she took. Hunter is badly wounded and can hardly move. As he spends his days laying on the floor of Rania's small home, they slowly teach each other English and Arabic so they can have some rudimentary communication. They talk about themselves and their lives, even if they don't always understand each other, they listen and enjoy each other's company. But Rania is a whore, and when she is not taking care of Hunter, she is taking care of other men's needs next door, where Hunter can hear everything as they use and abuse her. Hunter is driven mad by his helplessness, as he realizes he is slowly falling in love with Rania, but he can't do anything to stop what is happening to her, not until he is better.

“You are so beautiful. Do you know that?” 
“I know that men think – “ 
“Man. One man. Me. I’m all that matters. No one else can have you. You’re mine.”

The innocence of their relationship is incredible, considering the circumstances. But Rania has been on her own since she was 14, and she has no experience with the sort of kindness Hunter has shown her, certainly no experience with love. But Hunter treats her like a princess, because that is all he sees. And Rania should see an enemy, but all she sees is her hero. The tenderness Hunter shows Rania, the extent of his restraint and patience and his need to always put her first, is truly awe-inspiring. And Rania's love and devotion, her sacrifices and the extent she is willing to go to take care of Hunter is like nothing else. They both just slid into the roles of protector and lover without any expectations, without any declarations or promises. It was simply what they were. They loved each other. They would protect each other. No words were needed. Their deeds said everything.

I reveled in the beauty and peace that surrounded Rania's home. Outside horror and sin abounded. But inside there was only Rania and Hunter and love. Until Hunter was strong enough to get up, to fight for Rania, and to nearly die to bring her her HEA.

“I do not know how he even managed to do what he did. He should not have been able to, but he did. He defended my home. Me. Himself. Us.”

Just a note on the cover. The cover does make sense. I always wondered before reading the book why the girl on the cover was blonde, and wearing regular clothes. But it does make sense now that I have read the book. That is Rania. So don't hold the cover against it.

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