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He's Come Undone: A Romance Anthology

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  355 ratings  ·  125 reviews
For him, control is everything...until it shatters, and now he's come undone.

"Appasionata" by Emma Barry
Piano technician Brennan Connelly lives to control details: the tension on a piano string or the compression of hammer felt. But he's never faced demands like those heaped on him by Kristy Kwong, the diva who's haunted his dreams for two decades. Kristy's got her own sec
ebook, 410 pages
Published May 12th 2020
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  355 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A perfect combination of writing talent and theme, I adored this anthology.

The authors include the pertinent content warnings before each story.

"Appassionata" by Emma Barry
The passionate prose describing the characters' love of the piano was lush and made me almost hear notes despite having absolutely no knowledge of music besides appreciation. I need to read more of her work!

"Unraveled" by Olivia Dade
Gosh this selection just made me smile so hard. I loved watching art teacher Poppy "unravel" m
Overall anthology impression: rock-solid and fantastic collection of romance novellas featuring starchy heroes come undone (it took an embarrassingly long time to realize how the anthology title connected to the theme). Each one is worth the sticker price of $2.99, so to have FIVE novellas is a bang for your (three) bucks.

Note: the content notes under spoiler tags are taken directly from the anthology as the authors provided CWs before each novella.

“Appassionata” by Emma Barry

Content Notes: (vi
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of shorts.
"Appasionata" by Emma Barry: 4* M/F story set in the classical music world. I really loved their connection and relationship. However, the heroine had "lost" her ability to play in public 2 years prior and that was never really explained. We could have done without the 80% break up for such a short story but I still really enjoyed it and it was very original.
"Unraveled" by Olivia Dade: 4.5*. M/F story of 2 teachers who meet and fall for each other. It
May 25, 2020 is currently reading it
I spent almost 20 years of my life involved with classical music (first training to be a professional orchestra musician, then studying music history at a post-grad level, and finally working at an opera company as my last dayjob before becoming a full-time writer), which means that I am UNBELIEVABLY PICKY and unfairly hard to please when it comes to stories about classical musicians...

...But oh, wow, did I love Emma Barry's novella Appasionata, a gentle and thoughtful romance between a supersta
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
An absolutely outstanding collection, with a range of heat & angst for every appetite. I particularly loved Olivia Dade’s stuffy maths teacher is sweet for the murder-obsessed art teacher, Unravelled, and Cat Sebastian’s second chance 1950s story, Tommy Cabot Was Here, also featuring a buttoned up maths teacher.

*I didn’t read Ruby Lang’s story this time, because it has CWs that I can’t tackle right now, but I will come back to it eventually.

Leigh Kramer
As much as I love grumpy heroes, buttoned up heroes are my absolute favorite and therefore this anthology felt like it was tailor made for me. I love watching repressed heroes become astonished by FEELINGS, especially when they’re for unexpected love interests. He’s Come Undone is hands down the best anthology I’ve ever read. Each story is excellent and I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite but I’d say Olivia Dade’s Unraveled (murder dioramas!) and Ruby Lang’s “Yes, and…” resonated the most with m ...more
Ivy Deluca
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
"I started this anthology earlier in the week and I figured I would read a novella in between ARC reads. I’m a sucker for cinny roll heroes who unravel for their love.

Appassionata by Emma Barry - I believe this is my first Barry read but not my last. Excellent writing, interesting story with good chemistry and a focus on their emotional connection, which is hard to do in a novella. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️"

Unraveled by Olivia Dade - Loved visiting Ms. Dade’s Marysburg ‘verse again. Poppy and Sim
Adele Buck
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing anthology devoted to what I decided, post-reading, I will be calling "Jenga Men."

Whatever do I mean by that? Well. Imagine a Jenga tower. Solid, square. Impenetrable. All hard edges and sharp lines. Then you start to tug at a block here, place a block there. And you eventually have a tower filled with light and air, ready to tumble at the merest breath or touch.

So. Jenga men. And the women and men who love them, take them apart, and put them back together so they can tumble into the mo
I don’t think I could extoll the virtues of this book enough!! This is easily the best anthology I’ve ever read—the unifying theme was *perfect*. Each story felt really strong in its own right (rare in an anthology imho), and while each author has their own unique voice, there was a unified sensibility and tone that just s a n g through each story and I just couldn't get enough. I have no doubt I’ll be returning to this book frequently—these are stories for luxuriating in.

Appassionata by Emma Ba
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was, overall, a solid anthology. Not all of the stories worked for me as a reader, but that was mostly down to matters of personal reading tastes, and not the skill of the authors.

"Appassionatta", which started the collection, was probably my least favorite, mostly because the world of classical music is not one in which I have much interest. I also didn't quite understand the stage fright aspect. There was talk of an incident, but I was never sure if the incident in question was a profound
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every single story in this anthology was phenomenal though I have to say that Emma Barry’s and Olivia Dade’s were personal standouts for me.

Apassionata by Emma Barry

I adored this moving story about a concert pianist and a piano technician. The meticulous attention to detail would have kept the story from moving along in the hands of a lesser writer, but in the hands of Emma Barry, I got so caught up in the high stakes world of professional piano playing, it left me breathless and aching for more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I freaking loved this anthology. Every story is excellent and I can't say enough good things about it!
The two standouts for me are Emma Barry's and Olivia Dade's - both are about subjects that I would never have said I cared about in any way but wow both of these authors are incredibly talented. I need to be able to buy the actual murder dioramas from Olivia's story ASAP!

(Refraining from reviewing Cat Sebastian's story in this as I did work on this story)
Jen (That's What I'm Talking About)
He’s Come Undone is a wonderful anthology with five unique romances. Here are my thoughts on each:

"Appassionata" by Emma Barry
Brennan is an expert piano technician, and he’s been selected to prepare an instrument for Kristy, who’s been off-circuit for a couple years. Right off the bat, I love that Brennan NEEDS Kristy to be okay, for the rumors of her issues to be wrong. He stands apart, knowing he was/will never be good enough to elevate to the next level, but he doesn’t hold that against her.
eri b.❀
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: anthology
Lit only by a dim lamp behind them, he could have been the boy Everett had loved.

This was my last 2020 read and, just like 2020, it was disappointing. I'm very sorry for this because I was excited about reading a romance anthology that featured middle-aged people instead of young adults, but sadly it was the only good thing I could rescue of many of the short stories.

It was mostly my fault, I think. The topic for this anthology is something very specific and easily turned into a pet-peeve o
Rachel Reid
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic anthology of stories by all-star authors. I loved every single story.
"Appassionata" by Emma Barry, 3/5 stars

I was deeply grateful that more didn't come of the "spying" storyline, because if it had been the cause of more it would have felt like an overreaction to me. Anyway, I liked this!

"Unraveled" by Olivia Dade, 5/5 stars

MURDER DIORAMAS!!! I was completely charmed.

"Caught Looking" by Adriana Herrera, 2/5 stars

This was a weird mix of too much sex and overthinking that didn't really work for the mood I was in while I was reading it. The best friends thing should
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Appassionata" by Emma Barry
👍👍👍👍 - nicely done

"Unraveled" by Olivia Dade
👍👍👍👍👍 - superb. Tightly knit with beautiful colours.
Hannah Hearts Romance
Thank you to the authors for sending me a free eARC in exchange for my honest review!

In some anthologies, you like most of the stories but skip others. In some anthologies, some stories are so-so and other are complete standouts. Some anthologies are just straight-up inferior to He's Come Undone. Each story is fantastic unto itself, but packaged altogether so you have a whole bunch of fantasticness. The authors' different interpretations of a hero who needs "control" showcase the brilliance of t
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is without a doubt one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read. You can read from the first page to the last and not find anything to dislike. TONS of emotion in the stories. I loved it.

Adriana Herrera’s best friends to lovers was probably my favorite. So much emotion and feeling, and I hope this is expanded once the anthology ends. The other standout was Cat Sebastian-I cried each time Tommy did I swear lol. Olivia Dade can do no wrong, and this just solidified that. She’s outstanding and n
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for Cat Sebastian! I usually rate anthologies based on the best story, rather than the average, so this gets an easy five stars because Cat Sebastian is brilliant. This was a quality romance anthology featuring both queer and het stories about buttoned-up folk letting loose. Three or four stars for the rest of the stories.

I did a thing I never do--I skipped ahead to the story I bought this for--Cat Sebastian's "Tommy Cabot Was Here," which is last (radical, I know). This story is bea
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Appassionista by Emma Barry
This story is about a pianist and a piano technician and it's absolutely beautifully written. Our pianist is diva Kristy Kwong, who is really struggling with her music and finding her "voice" in it because of crippling doubts. There's only one person she'll really allow in right now and by in, she means in the room while she practices and that's Brennan Connelly. Brennan is the technically the rule following buttoned up one in this relationship and watching him break
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
WARNING: You will have "She's Come Undone" stuck in your head the entire time you're reading this. Or maybe that was just me.

The anthology contains content warnings for each story. Overall, this was a great collection, and I devoured it really quickly. I liked that aside from "Caught Looking" the MCs were all older (late 30s-early 40s). The book includes some of my favourite authors, and some new to me authors. Overall rating 4.5 stars.

"Appassionata" by Emma Barry, 3 stars

This was the weakest o
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The straight-laced, tightly-wound MC is a good subject for a romance anthology, as long as he doesn't come across as completely humorless or cruel. There's also the danger that the MC who loosens him up can be portrayed as a classic "manic pixie dream girl" (or guy) who is all butterflies and unicorns but no substance. Thankfully, that's not what happens in this collection. I was interested primarily for the M/M pairings of Adriana Herrera and Cat Sebastian, but I enjoyed all five stories.

When I saw the list of authors contributing to He’s Come Undone, that was pretty much all I needed to know to smash that pre-order button. So many of my favorites all in one place! But THEN I found out it’s an anthology of novellas featuring starchy heroes, and I almost had to bust out the smelling salts to revive myself. Things are so tough right now for so many people, and then this anthology shows up (for $2.99! WHAT) like a beam of light directly from heaven. Do you like a buttoned-up, all-b ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The promise in a title... I love romances where the hero is simply unraveled, overwhelmed, in over his head, and yes, undone by his love. And wow, the heroes in this anthology fell hard. Normally, I pick favorites in anthology, but honestly, all of these appetizer-sized romances packed a gorgeously and tightly packed punch. Not only were there offerings from authors I follow but I found some new to me favorites.

I've never read a romance anthology with such a dazzling variety of characters, words
The perfect romance anthology doesn't exi- ...more
Marisa Gettas
This anthology is exceptional. The best romance anthology I have ever read., hands down. I loved the uniting theme of the 'buttoned-up, starch-pressed MC', because the fun of this theme is watching said character break. And break and fall in love they do.
My two standouts were the first two in the anthology. Appassionata by Emma Barry made me swoon as we watched a concert pianist with a bad case of stage fright, fall in love with her piano technician. And Unraveled by Olivia Dade made me cackle w
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-to-z-2021
Put it in my veins!

There's something wonderfully delicious about watching someone who is frighteningly controlled and competent absolutely loose it. And this book delivers that over and over again in five distinctly unique and masterful voices. Each story is delightful, sexy, and satisfying on every level. Watching these tightly wound heroes and their partners unravelled and transformed by love is revolutionary. I. Am. Here. For. It.
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Emma, Olivia, Adriana, Ruby, and Cat did a great job! I loved all of the stories and characters! There’s a setting for everyone, and they are just so good!
Helen Kord
My problem with anthologies is that there's always one author who's work I really want to read, and then a bunch I don't. If I decide to read the anthology, I will try to read the whole thing, and then get really annoyed by all the stories I would not choose to read on my own, but feel forced to, because they're included in the book I'm currently holding, and I'm very bad at skipping.
Tldr I'm just here for the Cat Sebastian story.
I tried! I really did! But my patience this year is much, much sho
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Emma Barry is a teacher, novelist, recovering academic, and former political staffer. She lives with her high school sweetheart and a menagerie of pets and children in Virginia, and she occasionally finds time to read and write.

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