Unforgiven (PIU’s Review)

Unforgiven.Title: Unforgiven
Author: Ruth Clampett
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: 9th Mar, 2017
Genre(s): Best friends to lovers
Page Count: 310
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?

Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?

Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.

When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

This standalone is a M/M love story with graphic sex. Trigger warning.

Best friends to lovers trope are one of my favorites and I never pass on any story based on them so needless to say I was looking forward to this book. But I really did not like how the story progressed or concluded. My main problem was with Dean’s character. His contradictory attitude most of the time towards ‘gay’ people really put me off. I know I am in the minority here with my ratings but I seriously don’t know how to love a character if he spouts ‘stereotypical, offensive homophobic BS’ like this:

“I find Jason in the living room, sitting slack on the couch with his legs stretched out wide and a beer in his hand. He’s watching wrestling.
Of course he’s watching wrestling . . . the gayest sport there is.”

Or something like this

“What the fuck? Of course I can handle it. Let me guess, it was that guy, Phillip. He always seemed to have a thing for you. Is that who made you gay?”

Dean is shown loathing his attraction to Jason in one moment and then ready to tackle Jason in bed and make out in the next. He was Jason’s best friend so I kind of hoped for a little more consideration and understanding from him. Dean with his contradictory behavior towards the whole concept of being ‘gay’ just plain irritated me to no end.

There are several instances where I wanted to give up on the story and they were all coz of Dean. Few examples:


“While this research is going on I may be hard, but I’m trying not to pay attention to that, because that would really be gay.”

(This was when Dean was watching Gay porn for “research”)


“Of course, Jason’s situation is different since he is gay, but that doesn’t mean he’d want me to be in his bed forever. He’ll eventually want a guy who’s really gay . . . not situationally gay like me.”


Earlier when he asked me to take him out tonight, we joked about it being a date, and I bristled inside. Taking another man on what feels like a girly ‘date’ is way too gay for me. But I can swallow that down tonight and go along with it. He needs me and I’m going to come through for him.”


“If he wants to blow me in a dark movie theater I’ll consider it, but holding hands . . . no way.”

Oh boy! It was never-ending.

You may think that he will change after acknowledging his true feelings for his best friend but that does not happen. His transition from an angry/jealous friend who did not wanted to be gay to a loving BF was completely missing. He supports Jason, yes but he then thinks holding hands with Jason in public will make him gay, I mean is he for real?
His shitty attitude really grated on my nerves. He keeps having sex with Jason but when he watches gay porn, he wants to bleach his eyes out. Hypocrite, much?

So yeah I really did not like him. Problem was this kept on happening even when he is almost going steady with Jason. It’s a confusing process to suddenly acknowledge that you are bi so there should be some discussion or talks where Dean tries to understand it but nope there is absolutely nothing about it in the story.

All the chapters have some form of sex going on either with girls or boys without any actual, meaningful conversation. Almost at the 80% mark when Dean stops saying or thinking stuff like he is not gay, is when I actually liked the story.

The plot here is actually very good and well-thought with a much tormented MC who has an abusive past and a best friend he has been pining after for all his life. I would have loved it if Dean’s transition process was handled properly.

I cannot recommend this book.

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Galley copy of Unforgiven provided by Ruth Clampett in exchange of an honest review.