Review: Giving In by Maya Banks

Title: Giving In*
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Surrender Trilogy #2
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Format: ebook/print/audio
Date/Year: May 6, 2014
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?

Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit—fully to him—will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.

My Musings:

This review may contain spoilers for LETTING GO, book 1 in the Surrender trilogy. You can read GIVING IN as a standalone, but I believe you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve read the previous book first.

GIVING IN continues the story of a group of friends and family devastated by the untimely death of Carson Breckenridge and how their lives have changed since then. In the previous book, we saw Carson’s best friend finally acknowledge his long-suppressed feelings for Carson’s widow after three long years of mourning. Here in GIVING IN, Jensen Tucker, the man who replaced Carson as partner in his successful management consultant firm seeks to rescue Carson’s still-grieving sister from the emotional black hole she’s been in for most of her life. What neither Jensen nor Kylie could have anticipated was that Jensen needed rescuing just as much as Kylie, and that together they would find the path toward real healing and true love.

Kylie Breckenridge and her beloved older brother Carson had already survived a horrific childhood, thanks to his success at planning their escape and unwavering determination to keep them both alive. But Carson is gone, and Kylie feels abandoned all over again. Now there’s no one who can understand what she went through and why she can’t bring herself to live the full and happy life he’d always wanted for her. What Kylie doesn’t realize is that there is someone who senses what she feels and what she really needs, and it’s the one person who makes her angry enough to fight for what she wants, even as she resists him every step of the way. That person is Jensen Tucker.

Jensen may have only recently arrived in Kylie’s world, but he can already see that letting her continue to drift through life would be the same terrible mistake that her late brother and their friends have already made. Now Jensen is determined not only to drag Kylie out from behind her walls of self-protection, but to seek her complete emotional surrender to him as the only man who can protect her from everything she’s been hiding from for much too long.

Although I’m a big fan of how Maya Banks incorporates BDSM into many of her other books, including LETTING GO, it was just as satisfying to see GIVING IN focus more on the non-physical aspects of Dominance and submission, and how one can provide the emotional grounding for the other, even when the roles are switched. Jensen is willing to do just about anything to prove to Kylie that he can be trusted unconditionally, including suppressing his innate desire to dominate her. But Jensen’s need to be Kylie’s protector is tangled up in the damage from his own violent childhood from which he’s never completely recovered. When this unresolved trauma triggers Jensen into doing the one thing he’d promised Kylie would never happen, his heartbreaking decision to keep her safe becomes the catalyst for her to finally give him the surrender they both need for a genuinely happily ever after together.

GIVING IN is a remarkable story of two damaged souls who find their perfect counterpoint in each other. It never flinches from showing the long-term effects of domestic violence and child abuse while always keeping the delicate romance between its hero and heroine front and center. Up next is TAKING IT ALL, and it will finally address all the problems we’ve seen between Chessie and Tate caused by his repeated work-related absences. As sad I as I’ll be to see the Surrender trilogy end, I still can’t wait to read it.


Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5

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