Unlocked was my introduction to the work of Courtney Milan, and what an introduction it turned out to be.
Milan somehow manages to give us more emotion, passion and character connection in this short novella, then a lot of other authors can do with twice as many pages.
I think what I loved most about this story, is that the plot wasn't one that had been done to death in the genre. Elaine has been the subject of ridicule due to the hurtful acts of both Evan and his cousin since their youth. One cruel remark has a snowball effect, and Elaine has been the butt of jokes ever since. But Evan has done much growing up over the years and has returned to attempt to make amends. And Elaine has no intention of making it easy for him.
Elaine is a wonderful character. She is a strong and vibrant and much more concerned about the attempts at humiliating her sweetly 'head in the clouds' Mother then anything directed at herself. And Evan is just as richly developed. He takes full responsibility for the actions in his youth that caused Elaine so much pain. Handled by another author, I doubt I would have been so quick to understand, and willing to forgive his character. But, just how much I ended up loving Evan is a testament to the talent of Milan at creating some of the most wonderful characters i have read about in some time. The H&h's slow dance not just towards a HEA, but to genuine trust and friendship, was deeply moving for me.
My one complaint, is that I wish their story could have been a full size novel. But, I am happy for taking the journey with them, as short as it may have been.