Awakening by Elene Sallinger


River Rock, Vermont, 2011. This is the story of Claire Ryan and Evan Lang. 35-year-old Claire joins a local book club for romance readers in order to get over the breakdown of her 10-year relationship, there she meets book shop owner Evan, a dominant man who has never recovered from the sudden death of his submissive wife. As their relationship develops and they embark on the path of Claire's submission, it becomes harder and harder for Evan to keep his emotional distance. Claire is open and responsive and he wants her badly, but refuses to let himself go. As Claire falls deeper in love with Evan, she realizes that he is holding back and decides to end their relationship, forcing Evan to confront his own past and his feelings in order to save his new love (Goodreads)

I haven't been engrossed in a book of this genre for a long time. Awakening was simply great. There were so many things going for it but in the end it all comes down to how everything just clicked into place. The characters were wonderful, just heartbreakingly honest, so real. The way Claire and Evan's characters just developed as the story progressed.  This was the backbone of the whole book. Awakening to living after a long time of hibernation. The writing was flawless, no hitches in plot or pacing. Excellent dialogue, just enough background details including secondary characters to give the story dimension. It's all rooted in real life, from the way Claire joins a book club, to the choosing of the books (mentions of J.R. Ward's Dark Lover jolts you to the now), the taste of the cookies, the smell of the coffee.  Claire's sexual journey, how she slowly discovers what she truly wants, how Evan introduces her to BDSM, indirectly at first. Every emotion was detailed.  And it isn't a dependent relationship which makes this stand out.   Minute facts like these that gives it more depth.  I love the voice of this author.  In so many ways she has maintained a unique tone in a genre otherwise filled with so many.  Awakening is definitely a keeper. Looking forward to more of Ms. Sallinger's works.

*The ARC for this work was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review*
Praise for Awakening:

“If Fifty Shades of Grey intrigued you,Awakening will take you to a whole new level of desire, submission, and unforgettable romance.”
Judge, UK’s Festival of Romance Contest

“Exquisitely beautiful, touchingly heart-wrenching, and hedonistic enough to keep your body on fire.”
Coffee Time Romance


Author: Elene Sallinger
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Published: November 5, 2013 (First Published September 2012)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ 5 of 5  (Erotica that is pure romance, Claire and Evan's story will keep you turning the pages, fully invested in their lives.  A passionate and engaging read)

View all my reviews

About the Author
Hailing from Washington, DC, Elene Sallinger first caught the writing bug in 2004 after writing and illustrating several stories for her then four-year-old daughter. Her writing career has encompassed two award-winning children’s stories, a stint as a consumer-education advocate, as well as writing her debut novel, Awakening—a novel of erotic fiction that won the New Writing Competition at the Festival of Romance 2011. Visit Elene online at

Awakening by Elene Sallinger November 2013; ISBN: 9781402289507; $12.99 U.S.
Trade Paperback; Erotic Romance; Sourcebooks Casablanca