~ Becs ~'s Reviews > Wanderlust

Wanderlust by Skye Warren
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Wanderlust is a dark erotic novel that explores dubious consent, captivity, and power play. Please do not read this if you're uncomfortable with the subject matter or under 18 years of age.

Can love come from pain?

I think it’s very important that you take the content warning at the top of the post seriously. This is dark erotica and contains scenes of sexual violence, abduction, dubious and non-consent. But, if all of that piques your interest and you’re over eighteen, then read on.

I’ve not read Skye Warren before – I’d always meant to and now I feel that I’ve been missing out. What a talented author – the writing style is hauntingly atmospheric and wholly compelling. I was engrossed in this book from beginning to end and, even after closing the last chapter, it still remains with me, completely unforgettable. It’s darkly fascinating, mesmerising, and achingly beautiful.

Evie has had a very unconventional upbringing with her extremely paranoid mother who warned her constantly against the dangers lurking for a young, single girl in the outside world and tried to keep her locked up and away from the perceived evil beyond. Evie feels caged and, desperate to see a bit more of the world, sets off one day in her battered old Honda, ready for what lies ahead. Turns out, her mother’s paranoid ramblings were a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Evie starts her journey naively optimistic with a burning ambition to see Niagara Falls and, as Don Henley started to croon ‘On a dark desert highway’ gently in my sub-conscious, Evie takes a wrong turn and ends up at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere and catches the eye of Hunter, a brooding trucker, and declines his offer to buy her dinner. Turns out ‘no’ wasn’t an option and Hunter is everything Evie’s mother had so obsessively cautioned her against – a beast of the highest order. He wants Evie and he is going to have her – she has no say in the matter. I felt a lurch of fear deep in my heart as Evie stepped out of her crappy motel bathroom to find Hunter lounging in the chair as if he belonged there. He takes her brutally, uses her all night, drugs her and throws her bound into the back of his truck as he decides that he’s going to keep her.

"That's a good girl." He leaned down, whispering into my ear. "I'm sorry about this. I really am. You’re too good."

Hunter strips Evie of her freedom , her ability to consent and takes her as and when he wants. He’s a rapist, a man we should loathe and detest and yet I came to love him. He’s a broken man, a victim of circumstance and lies and has suffered deeply in the past. His hopes, his dreams, his whole belief system stripped from him as his worst nightmares came true. To learn his past is to gain an understanding and nothing here is black and white, there are only shades of grey. Hunter, although on the surface, seems to be nothing short of a monster, has hidden depths that Evie slowly starts to see. Despite his role as abductor and abuser, Hunter also takes on the hero role as he rescues Evie more than once and eventually attempts to do the noble thing by her. He’s a good man who’s been corrupted by his experiences but despite his brutality, there are moments of gentleness and tenderness and he’s fiercely protective of Evie.

“Don’t you see how fucked up this is? That you beat up those guys for…for…” Here my courage deserted me. “For what you did,” I finish lamely.

Evie just about broke my heart and I shed many tears for her. Her childhood has been difficult and she’s never had a loving, positive sexual experience. From a background of abuse, she’s got a surprisingly optimistic outlook on life and, rather than being broken by her past, she’s eagerly looking forward to slaking her wanderlust and hitting the road and discovering the world beyond the confines of her Mother’s oppressive paranoia. She endures so much in this novel and I admired her bravery and her courage. She’s managed to escape the cage that her mother kept her in to stumble blindly straight into another form of captivity. The freedom she craves so deeply hovers ever out of her reach.

I cried for having stayed with my mother too long, not knowing what a normal life would have been like. I cried for finally summoning the strength to leave, only to have all her worst fears prove true. Most of all, I cried because I felt relief to have been captured.

She’s no doormat and escape is constantly on her mind and makes several attempts all of which end in violence of some form. She’s not blessed with luck and her bad run with sexual experiences continues as she definitely leaps from the frying pan into the fire. I could almost hear Tess Durbeyfield mournfully berating her mother at this point “Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me?" Of course, Tess saw herself of a victim of her own ignorance of men whereas Evie now sees herself as a victim of her own innocent optimism and blind faith in others.

Just when everything seems lost and Evie is losing all hope, a simple gesture of human kindness from a hermit helps restore some of her faith in humanity.

Both Evie and Hunter take an incredible personal journey in this one with forgiveness and absolution taking central roles. Hunter, at the beginning, is darkness personified – he’s been accused and punished for something that he didn’t do and now his moral compass is skewed – he may as well live up to the deeds he’s been falsely accused of. Evie starts off like a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights – she’s terrified and rightly so but she grows immensely throughout the course of the book and she’s virtually unrecognisable by the end of the story. She grows from strength to strength, and is able to take matters into her own hands. Hunter may strip her of her liberty and her right to consent but he can never take her mind and she maintains her integrity from beginning to end.

I think it’s up to the reader to decide whether Evie’s apparent love for Hunter is born out of Stockholm Syndrome or something deeper. Personally, I took it to be that she came to know him so well, she grew to understand him – these are two broken people coming together and healing one another. It’s a dark and twisted journey and morals and principles that I hold deeply were questioned as I found myself able to forgive Hunter and want him to be happy, to find an equilibrium with Evie. It’s mindfuckery of the highest order – I shouldn’t love him but I do. This book consumed me, I just could not put it down as I watched these two tortured souls take on their own and each other’s pain and slowly find common ground and forgiveness and move beyond the horrors of the past to something really quite beautiful and special.

I’d recommend this for anyone who enjoyed C.J. Roberts’ Dark Duet or, possibly, Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas. Yes, this is dark erotica but it’s a fairly soul-shattering love story too and deeply emotional with unexpected flashes of humour. It’s a deep exploration of power, guilt and ultimately forgiveness.

5 dark and twisted stars

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Reading Progress

January 1, 2013 – Shelved
April 21, 2013 – Started Reading
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: dark-angsty
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: abused-heroine
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: arc
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: dark-erotica
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: gamma-hero
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: kidnapped
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: made-me-cry
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: mind-f-ckery
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: non-con
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: review-copy
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: shy-heroine
April 21, 2013 – Shelved as: tortured-abused-hero
April 21, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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~ Becs ~ It's awesome Em - if you like books like The Dark Duet, then you're gonna love this!

message 2: by B (new) - rated it 4 stars

B Em, my thoughts exactly. A Holy Fuck from Becs equals- I am starting this today!

message 3: by Nikki (new) - added it

Nikki A Dark Diet comparison? You caught my attention. Can't wait for your review!

Monica Bumped up to my top-tbr list :)

message 5: by Christy (new)

Christy Fab review Becs! :D

Becky Frosco Great review, can't wait to read this

~ Becs ~ Thanks everyone. I really don't give out 5 stars very often and, so long as you're prepared for the non-con aspect, this is a pretty spectacular book.

message 8: by Kathy014 (new) - added it

Kathy014 Great review.. Sure my next book to read

message 9: by Joy (new)

Joy WOW Becs--looks like I've found my next dark read!! Great review---

~ Becs ~ Yay - hope you both enjoy it too x

Elizabeth (Liz) Wonderful review, Becs!! Thank you for the rec, by the way! I've been wanting to read this one, and she actually just requested a review through the blog, so I'll get my chance. YAY!! <3 :-)

message 12: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Beautiful review Becs!! The book sounds pretty dark, with lots of mind fuckery going on!!

Book Girl You gave it a 5 star, compared it to the DD series and bc of your 1st sentence - DONE!
I just bought and am starting to read it now - cant wait.

SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ Awesome review Becs. Is it a series?

~ Becs ~ I don't think so Sue - the story is complete by the end and there's no other characters there that you could imagine having a story of their own.

I love the cover - Evie's last moment of freedom is standing staring at the sunset. It's perfect.

Alexis *Reality Bites* AWESOME review, Becs!!!

SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ Thanks so much. Moved from "consider later" to TBR.

Lise *friends don't flag* Amazing review, Becs. I will read this one, for sure.

message 19: by Shelley (new)

Shelley Great review Becs. You make me want to finish it and see what I missed :/

Simone Sounds fascinating. Incredible review Becs!

Tessamari ♥Many Waters...♥ ~ Sweet Spot Book Blog I can never get enough of Skye's books. LOVED this one!!

message 22: by Monique (new)

Monique WOW Becs!!!!! Totally AMAZING review!!!!!!

~ Becs ~ Thanks sweetie x

message 24: by Ellelou (last edited Apr 23, 2013 12:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ellelou Fab review Becs. I've added it on TBR but will save it for when I'm in the mood...too many angsty books lately and I'm having my fill of fluffy at the moment...

~ Becs ~ Thanks Ellelou - every girl needs a bit of fluffy every now and then!

Jamie Loved this review Becs.. this is the first I've heard of this book and I'm definitly going to read it.. thanks for bringing this to our attention!

message 27: by Tony (new)

Tony It's on my list now, thanks. You know, I'd never have read Tess of the D'Urbervilles had I not read 50 Shades of Grey, LOL..

message 28: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla Great review Becs!

Louise Amazing review Becs!:) the writing style, was so good!!!

Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️ Wow. Amazing review. I'd love this I think!

Amber Rose Awesome review, Becs. :) Reading this one very very soon!!! :)

~ Becs ~ Enjoy x

message 33: by Sali (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sali Lol I LUV a review that starts with


message 34: by Vanessa (last edited Mar 10, 2015 01:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vanessa This book is on my favorites list! I was just talking to a friend about it. Love your review Becs!

~ Becs ~ It sure was a good one :)

~ Becs ~ It sure was a good one :)

message 37: by Sanya (new) - added it

Sanya Alie Great review! I just wanted to know if it ends with an HEA, cuz if not, that's a total bummer for me.

message 38: by Tony (new)

Tony This has been on my TBR for so long, I need to read it.!!!!

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