Author: Cherie M. Hudson
Unconditional is a new adult romance with a twist. Maci Rowling is an American college student who wins a scholarship to study in Australia for 10 weeks. She is researching global warming and koalas, and she has Parkinson’s Disease.
Maci writes Unconditional as if she were talking to the audience. A lot of the story comes across like people sitting over coffee for a chat which is lovely and brings an intimacy to the story that may otherwise have been missing.
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disease that Maci has watched decimate her mother and now knows what the future has in store for her. She makes the decision to remain single to avoid burdening anyone with her increasing dependence. She watched the pain it inflicted on her parents and refuses to put herself in that position.
Maci is for the most part quite upbeat and goes about living her life while she can, if you ignore her decision to avoid love. She has effective medication and knows how best to manage her symptoms when they arise, and to avoid them when possible. This scholarship is the first time she has been out of her hometown of Plenty and she is looking froward to meeting new people, people who don’t know her diagnosis.
A 10 week scholarship at the University of Sydney is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to meet new people and find yourself, to reinvent yourself even and it’s a chance Maci has to take and make the most of while she can.
Australia isn’t all that she’s expecting from the moment she steps off the plane, and it isn’t a great first impression on either side. Eventually Maci finds herself in her dorm at the University, after kissing a gorgeous stranger in the men’s bathroom at the airport.
Hudson has written a very unlikely hero and heroine in Unconditional. Raph is drop dead super spunky and famous for being a sibling, he is followed by paparazzi at every turn simply because his sister married a prince. He has scored himself a bodyguard and a royal family that has plans for him but Raph just wants to study for his degree and live his life his way. He is wary of getting involved with anyone because more often than not his story ends up in the tabloids and that’s the last thing he wants.
I enjoyed Unconditional, I think it shone a light on the experience of Parkinson’s Disease that may be faced by someone with early onset symptoms and 21 is certainly very early. I think the story was well written but it just lacked something that I can’t put my finger on.
Maci and Raph were the stars of this drama but there were some interesting secondary characters that could do with some extra exploration. Heather is a tornado of enthusiasm and proves to be a fabulous first friend for Maci, I think there is a lot more to learn about her – possibly in upcoming additions to the series? Then there’s Biceps, otherwise known as Brendon, the gym manager who takes Maci under his wing and helps her keep her symptoms under control. He is another character with hidden depths I wouldn’t mind exploring.
Hudson has not only spotlighted Parkinson’s Disease in Unconditional but there is also mention of Lou Gehrig’s Disease and ADHD so this isn’t a cast of perfect and perky uni students partying their way into adulthood.
I rated this one 3 stars on Goodreads, only because you can’t rate half stars. It was definitely 3.5 stars for me. I like the premise, the characters were sympathetic and well written, the intimacy was certainly steamy and we were left with a feeling of faith that a diagnosis like this isn’t necessarily a tolling bell, unless you let it be. I will be interested to see where Hudson goes with later books in the Always series.
To get your copy of Unconditional head to: Momentum, Amazon (Kindle), Amazon UK (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook devices), Google Play (All devices except Kindle), iBooks Store (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac), Kobo (All devices except Kindle)
Unconditional is Book #9 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.
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