Book Review – Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun

by Maryse on August 13, 2014 · 16 comments

in My Book Reviews

Liberating Lacey
This one has been floating on my TBR list for a year or two, and I finally jumped in. I was in the mood for an “adult” romance where the source of the drama has a more… “normal” feel. Nothing too tragic, unimaginable or heartbreaking to overcome. Just… circumstances. And the personal issues that exacerbate them.

And this one came highly recommended when I was looking for that “forbidden romance” angle.

Melissa: Liberating Lacy…whoa. Younger man in uniform meets newly divorced (slightly older) upper class lady. Kind of a “How Stella Got her Groove back” But much better. It pulls you in from the very beginning…and very hot and steamy ;)

Kim: Liberating Lacey.  You have got to read this one.  I found it about the same time I found your blog.  What I love is the confidence of the older women.  We often hate our bodies but she knows what she wants unti he shows her more might be possible, in a hot alpha cop kinda way, and she might make him want more too.  Sooo good…

Rebecca: I second Liberating Lacey!! Absolutely loved, and He is the sexiest Cop I’ve ever read in a book. And the Uniform and the Handcuffs do make an appearance in some of the sexiest sex scenes that I’ve ever read! Very well written too, there is a Lot of emotional depth to these characters, a lot of Angst, and I felt a very real and honest depiction of feelings.

Stacey: I have a rec. for a very nice, very sweet, very hot, very non wordy romance!  Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun.  This was just a very character driven book, no outside drama, just two people falling in love.  Did I mention it is very hot!?

Yes! And yes it was!! ;) *waggles eyebrows* Sure enough… those cuffs… and that uniform… and that stern look…whooooo!! *fans self*

“Police officers always look untouchable to me, distant and authoritative,” she said.

Yep. Agreed. *blush* And that just calls to my “brooding-alpha-male” love. ;)

Liberating Lacey certainly delivered that storyline, with a touch of “social taboo” romance, and a whole lotta steam. I say a “touch” because, while this journey does take on the “older woman/younger man” angle, I found it fairly safe in that department. He was in his late twenties (a street cop) and she was in her mid-thirties (a recently divorced socialite/successful business woman).

Please, please, let him be at least thirty. Mid-thirties would be better. Mid-thirties would feel less awkward.

“Twenty-eight,” he said.

Oh dear God.

*hrmph* neutral Okay.

Well, for me at least, the age-thing wasn’t much of a stretch, here. Maybe I’ve just read a few too many where it really WAS a stretch (age-wise), but I wasn’t really bothered by the age issues represented in this story.

And while “fine lines” and personal physical self-doubt and age insecurities were hinted at, it didn’t feel cougarish. Yes, the book flirted with that “he’s too young for you” angle, here and there (friends, nosy neighbors and acquaintances), but I was surprised at where the angst actually ended up coming from. Of course, we have the delightfully angsty pining for “a player” angle. Not wanting to get serious, and just enjoying their “hookups” and new friendship, for what it was.

Several times she rearranged her schedule to be able to see him. Claire’s lips had whitened when she heard that little tidbit of information and Lacey knew her friend was biting her tongue to keep from warning her about the perils of falling for a player.

Yep. Plenty of that, here.

But also… it was about their social standing. Two adults that are incredibly attracted to each other, getting to know each other in a blissfully fun “bubble”, but out in the open? Amongst his entourage. Amongst her entourage? They are forced to face cliché (yet realistic) social standards and misconceptions. Or maybe these social “issues” are self-induced? Mostly just… their own personal qualms?

And therein lies the journey. :D

I enjoyed it!

But, it wasn’t as all-consuming as I was hoping for, so that I could really connect to this realistic storyline. I had a few of my own issues overall.

*skip this part if you haven’t read it and want to go in blind. No spoiler but just me analyzing my *issues*

Like how quickly they “hooked up” (and er… where they hooked up). LOL! Just… not as “teasing” or as fulfilling as I would have liked. There was no real chase. But then again, it is Ellora’s Cave (known for it’s very steamy stuff)!! A little over the top, in that regard. Mind you, she was at a bar, specifically looking for a one-night, no attachments hook up, so… ;)

“You’re not like all the other girls in here,” he said, his voice just a little rougher.

And here they were, already at the deal breaker. “That’s because I’m older than any other woman in this bar.”

But their was no real initial pining, you know? No shy smiles to the sexy neighborhood cop that you’re crushing on. Gah! I would have LOVED some of that.

But another issue I had, was what was considered an “older woman” (and younger man, for that matter). I felt as if she was portrayed as somewhat older than what she actually as. Secure, confident, well established, highly regarded, worldy and… aging. But when I realized she just turned 36? I scoffed. And her own reaction to “hooking up” with a guy 8 years younger? Not a very big deal, and certainly not if he’s almost 30, too. It just seemed a little “safe” in that regard. Even his father seemed so much older (for some reason in my head… the aches and pains, and hints to other age-related issues). And he wasn’t even 50 yet! I dunno. Maybe it’s just me? The mid-30 and 40 year olds that I know just don’t seem “old”, to me. *shrug*

Also, I struggled with the whole “he’s just a cop” angle by her wealthy entourage. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I see cops as heroes  and protectors. Strong and noble. I would have been too busy swooning to worry about his income bracket. ;) But apparently, some from her wealthy entourage look down on that sort of thing. Ugh.

*okay you can come back now!!*

Regardless, if you’re in the mood for a more “mature-feeling” realistic romance story, I’d definitely recommend it! Well written, emotionally (introspectively) explored, moments of titillating angst, entertaining and steamy.

3.5 stars!

Yes… I’m wavering again (3.5? 4 stars? I dunno. It depends on how much I’m still thinking about it in a few days, I suppose. In a way, writing-wise and “my kind of story” wise, it seems like a 4-star book. But I was feeling a little nonchalant through the whole read, which is why I’m 3.5 starring it, for now).

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

bev August 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Hmm kept my eye on this one as it was popular a couple years ago but have not felt the urge to one click yet. I’ve seen that she has what I believe is a series with cop heroes that are getting great reviews. Might try one of those sometime.

I just have to put it out again, sorry, because I loved the book. If you want pining for the cop you have a crush on and shy smiles look to Breathe.

Maryse August 13, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Okay I’m on it, Bev!! :D It’s the one from KA right?

Reesa August 13, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Can you make a list of books that made you ugly cry? Or am I not finding it? Love your page get every book from your recommendations.

Thank you!


Maryse August 13, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Hi Reesa!

My personal list that I posted a year or so ago is a bit short, but there are a bunch of reader recommendations on it, too!

Here it is:

bev August 13, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Yes the KA on your tbr. It’s sweet but with some moments of ache too.

Maryse August 13, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I like ache!!

Lori August 13, 2014 at 10:24 PM

I finally bought this a couple of weeks ago when it went on sale. I’ve read about it for couple of years, it seems. Everything I’ve read says this book is amazing. I bought it, but now I don’t have any desire to read it. I’ll get around to it eventually. The age thing keeps putting me off I think. Mid 30′s is hardly old. I’m in my 40′s, and my husband is a few years younger. I never cared, no one ever cared. Seems silly to put such emphasis on that small a gap. If she were 45 and he was 19, we’d have something to maybe raise an eyebrow about.

Maryse August 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM

And that’s exactly how I felt, Lori…

vicky August 14, 2014 at 6:27 AM

I loved, loved, loved this book! I would still recommend it to anyone and to me, it’s still at least a 4 star read. I’m not into super angsty books where people make a bunch of stupid decisions that keep them apart so this book was right up my alley. I also liked that the h was a strong woman with no doubts about her ability to make it on her own. The age difference was a non-issue for me although it was an issue in the book for sure. But I felt like it was meant to be secondary to the other bigger issue that HE had. Anyway, I hope you continue to think about it and give it that 4 star!

MichelleS August 14, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Bev and Maryse…. “KA books” “I like ache” and “cops”…? You’ve got my interest. Did you read “Games of the Heart”? It was the story of Mike (the cop from Vi and Cal’s story who DIDN’T get the girl in that one). That was one of the stand outs for me from KA. It had the added benefit of the BEST secondary storyline with the “kids” (high schoolers) of all of her books. He used to date her sister (gasp), she’s the wild little sister back in town, he’s divorced raising awesome kids. I love KA, but some of hers stand out more than others. This was one of those for me. Makes me want to read it all over again. My vote for best cop alpha male lead!

Maryse August 14, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Hrmm… for some reason I think I DID read it but let me backtrack on that… Michelle did you read Breathe?

MichelleS August 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

You’d remember that one surely – it had the story of Fin & Reese (his daughter and her nephew) that was so so sweet on top of their romance. Loved that one! Yes, I read Breathe (I have literally read every single KA book except Mathilda the Super Witch). I like all her “stuff”. Some more than others. I like them while I am reading them, but only remember the details of some, you know? I actually ended up liking MORE of the Burg series than Colorado series (except Sweet Dreams…. one of my faves). I’ll put it this way, I’d reread Games of the Heart.

bev August 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Lol, I think it was Reese and Fin made that book for me. I liked their story a bit more than the leads. Breathe was a re read for me but not Game of the Heart. But I will as I usually re read or more all of her books. And yes this one has the ache. Something about Faye and Chase I just loved.
Do you ever think that KA heroines forgive the hero or give in to them to quickly? I mean I don’t want angst for angst sake but I sometimes feel they have legitimate reason to be angry. oh and I still am thinking of the teaser chapters from Deacon. Looks so good.

Lori August 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Games of the Heart and Breathe are both amazing! I love KA like crazy, have read everything but the last half of Matilda (terrible!) but those 2 books are among her best. I’ve reread both books more then a few times each. I thought Mike was a douche in At Peace, but loved him in Games.

MichelleS August 14, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Bev – KA’s books definitely fall into a “formula” for the most part. But it’s a formula I happen to like. The heroine almost always gives in too quickly, yes, which is surprising considering her books are not short! But many times they have that way-way-way-too-long split (10 years, 20 years) and reunite… so it’s not always instant (thank goodness). It’s mostly her guys that are hold-outs, but that’s ok too, because that’s the fantasy part for me: the guy who is hard to get, bossy, hot, maybe a bit blue collar, and never uses coordinating conjunctions. Ever notice that every single guy does this? It’s kind of weird for me not having the “IF” in a sentence!!!

bev August 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Michelle that made me laugh. Yes her men have a distinct speech pattern. And oh, her books work for me too. Though sometimes depend on my mood. Some of her books are a straight read to finish and some I put down and come back to later. Raid I had put down for a long while and then when I went back and picked it up I did not put down until I finished it. I actually like having the unfinished ones because I have a go to KA to read for the right mood.

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