The Ultimate Book List of Innocent and Sheltered Heroines (strict upbringings, or raised in a cult etc…)

by Maryse on February 6, 2016 · 11 comments

in Book Recommendations

So many of us get a real kick out of the dynamic and “social study” of a sheltered character (one that lives differently from the “social norms” due to strict upbringing, religious beliefs, and/or abusive situations) that is thrust into the “real” world. They find themselves reevaluating everything they thought was true. New lessons to be learned as their fears, and their beliefs are tested, and that can make for an exciting, and/or emotionally heart rending journey for both that character and the reader!

I LOVE exploring stories like this, becoming the characters, seeing the world through her “new” eyes as she remembers and relates it to everything she lived previous… and maybe even wants to go back to. And I especially love it when romance is involved. A “real-world” hero (most often a bad-ass or even a bad guy!! Eeeeep! :D ) and his innocent heroine… the growth between both these characters can be so fulfilling!

And I’ve been recently asked to make us a list! I have a few in mind already, but I know plenty of my fellow readers had some recommendations too!

Candice asks:

“…I read Resisting Her by Kendall Ryan and I got kinda hooked on that dynamic you know innocent heroine reluctant hero could you recommend some books for me please. Thank you very much.”

Maryse: I love this genre!! I already have a few on my list (example: Sheltered by Charlotte Stein) so I’ll start one, but I’m also curious for the ones my fellow readers have loved…

Look what we’ve come up with!

P.S. This is a work in progress, and I will continue to add to this list as we find ‘em. :D (suggest your favorites in the comments)

Sheltered by Charlotte Stein <— RAISED BY A DOMINEERING ABUSIVE FATHER & SHE SPIES ON THE “BAD BOY” OVER THE FENCE… they secretly become friends, but the fear I feel WITH her each time they sneak to talk to each other (and the intensity of the steam between the two is OUT OF THIS WORLD). This is one of my favorite books ever! And Diane agrees! “I thought Sheltered was sooo good” (my review)

Resisting Her by Kendall Ryan <— SHE’S BEEN RAISED IN A CULT AND AN FBI AGENT RAIDS it and has to take her in!! “… At nineteen, she’s too old for foster care and too damaged to live on her own. With nowhere else to go, and against his better judgment Cole takes her in…“ Candice’s recommendation!

Hades Hangmen Series by Tillie Cole <— RAISED IN A CULT Alessia says: “Heroine is raised in a cult. Start with It Ain’t Me, Babe (Hades Hangmen Book 1)” and Lauren agrees: “…all 3 books have heroine’s who escaped from a cult.” and Katherine says: “Loved all 3 books.” (my review)

Wanderlust: A Dark Romance Novel by Skye Warren <— RAISED BY A STRICT AGORAPHOBIC MOTHER and Gabby says: “It’s a bit of dark read.” and Antonella agrees: “One that always sticks out for me was Wanderlust by Skye Warren. I read it a while ago now but I still remember it being dark/taboo and wanting them to get together even though it was so wrong.” YES!!!! Actually it’s VERY dark, because while she’s INCREDIBLY sheltered, he’s a VERY bad guy and kidnaps her. It’s intense, scary, and emotional. I absolutely loved it because it’s pretty much a psych-thriller but with a love story… (my review)

The Compound Series by Melissa Brown <— POLYGAMIST CULT and Julie suggests this one! Here’s book #1: Wife Number Seven (The Compound Series Book 1) and Christie says: “Omg so much yasssssss” and Rachel enjoyed it, too! “I liked Wife Number Seven. It was a really interesting look into that kind of lifestyle.

Hard Rock Remix (The Lonely Kings, #2) by Ava Lore <— POLYGAMIST CULT Pamela suggests this one!! “Ava Lore has a series about a rock band “the Lonely Kings” and the 2nd book has a heroine who escapes a polygamist cult compound.” and Katrin agrees! “Thought of the exact same book! :D

Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun <— LEAVES A CULT and Pamela also recommends this one! “Oh and there’s “Uncommon Passion” by Anne Calhoun where the heroine has left a super religious cult and buys the hero at a bachelor auction.” and Diane agrees! “Anne Calhoun is hit or miss for me but I loved Uncommon Passion…”

Becoming Calder and Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan <— RELIGIOUS GROUP THAT LIVE IN A TOWN THAT SHUNS SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY and Kristal recommends these! And Joanna agrees: “Yes yes yes love these book so much.” and so does Rebecca: “This is my recommendation too!” Michelle, too! “Soooooo goooood!!!”

Beaten (Broken Book 1) by Rebekah Rue <— STRICT UPBRINGING and Nancy loved this one! “Beaten by Rebekah Rue starts out with the girl being so overly protected by her ex-military father and mother that she just wants them to disapear, and of course, be careful what you wish for…”

Last Hit (A Hitman Novel Book 1) by Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick <—SHE WAS HOME SCHOOLED & FARM-RAISED Niki suggests this one and Lori agrees! “I just finished Last Hit and loved it! Can’t wait for Daniel’s story next year.”

Twisted Perfection: A Rosemary Beach Novel (The Rosemary Beach Series Book 5) by Abbi Glines <— SHELTERED UPBRINGING Niki also suggests this one! Jaime loved it! “I just finished Twisted Perfection and I”m so in love! This is what i love about books. I get to fall in love over and over again. Woods is right up there with my all time favourites. Like others have said, the cliffhanger is not so shocking that i would tell people to wait to read this book. He is just way to hot and sexy to wait!” and so did Teresa: “OMG – I just finished Twisted Perfection! It was, well…..perfect. How many times this week am I going to fall in love? Woods…..sigh”

Blind Attraction (Reckless Beat Book 1) by Eden Summers <— STRICT & SHELTERED UPBRINGING and Kathy found us this one!

Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert <— DARK & DISTURBING UPBRINGING and Debra suggests it!

Sins of Sevin by Penelope Ward <— STRICT RELIGIOUS FAMILY and Faye recommends this one! “Sins of Sevin by Penelope Ward! The heroine wasn’t in a cult, but she was still sheltered by a very religious and traditional family.” and Ela says: “I just finished Sins of Sevin and really loved it. I was having doubts at one point and have an issue with one aspect of the book more towards the end but overall highly recommend it!

PLAUSIBILITY by Jettie Woodruff <— TABOO RAISED IN A LIFE OF CRIME BUT EXTREMELY SHELTERED BY BROTHER & FATHER <— Niki suggests this one, too! Laura really loves this one! “It’s really good and in true jettie crazy style kind of taboo as her books normally are! …u will love plausibility …great story!!” and Jackie says: “*** taboo*** couldn’t help but to read in 1 sitting”

Lead Me From Solitude by Lainy Bradshaw <— SHELTERED & ENSLAVED MALE BY HIS PARENTS! Nancy found us this one! “Lead Me From Solitude by Lainy Bradshaw is the same concept, but with the young man Jacob being kept by his over zealous father as a virtual slave, and when his parents are killed in an accident, the policewoman comes to the house and saves him.”

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Book 1) by Mercedes Lackey <— STRICT RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY and Donna suggests this one! “(Note – book blurb describes Talia as a runaway, but she actually wasn’t, as it was Rolan who ‘ran away’ with her – she was living in a religious, strict, sheltered community near the border).”

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes <— RAISED IN A CULT AND FINALLY FREE-ish;)  Amy suggests this one (which is likely her next read) saying: “I have one sitting on my iPad that I’m hoping to get to soon, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. That blurb, GAH! I have a feeling that is going to be one effed-up read.”

MORE PLEASE!! :D This is so much fun. I’ll be picking and choosing many times, from this list.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane M February 6, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Anne Calhoun is hit or miss for me but I loved Uncommon Passion and I thought Sheltered was sooo good

Amy February 6, 2016 at 9:05 PM

I have one sitting on my iPad that I’m hoping to get to soon, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. That blurb, GAH! I have a feeling that is going to be one effed-up read.

I think it’s going to be my next 2015-purchase read since my most recent one was taken up by Maybe in Another Life…which I LOVED by the way!!!

Maryse February 6, 2016 at 10:22 PM

Thank you so much for the feedback on that one, Diane!!!

Maryse February 6, 2016 at 10:24 PM

Oh Amy I wanna know all about it.

And I loved Maybe in Another Life… so well written.

I finished One True Loves (also amazing written, and so freaking thoughtful and darn good!!) and now I’m reading Abruption by Riley Mackenzie while I am enjoying thoroughly…

Anne February 7, 2016 at 9:14 AM

I really need to read Sheltered soon. I think the cover is what puts me off lol

Great list!

Maryse February 7, 2016 at 10:09 AM

I didn’t imagine him like the cover at all, and I agree Anne… it’s just not right for this story at all. Trust me… the story is awesome (and STEAMY!!!) and scary. Amazing.

Diane M February 7, 2016 at 10:42 AM

100% agreed on the cover

Lauren Runow February 7, 2016 at 11:11 AM

Loved Beaten!!! Such a well written and amazing story!

MichelleS February 7, 2016 at 4:32 PM

One more shout out for Plausability. I loved that one and it still sticks with me. Even little scenes. Would recommend for sure.

Brianna February 9, 2016 at 5:19 PM

I’m shocked it wasn’t on here so maybe I missed it. Room by Emma Donnoghue is a huge one. You think the story is almost over when mother and son are kept prisoners in a room for years on end, but really it is just getting started. The road to recovery after they escape is long and hard. Love this list so much!!!

Mel December 23, 2018 at 5:02 PM

Annie’s Song by Catherine Anderson — Annie, deaf after a childhood fever, is forced into marriage with her rapist’s brother (hero, good guy) when she becomes pregnant. Abusive parents due to ignorance shelter her.

Savage Cinderella by PJ Sharon — Former kidnapped girl, Brinn Hathaway, grows up alone in the forest (not quite feral), hiding from her still living captor. (Descent read)

The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks — After a year in captivity, the amnesiac heroine, Rachel Kelly, is rescued and returns to her husband (hero) to reassimilate to life. One of the better Maya Banks books, and it starts the KGI series.

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