First Published 11 October 2007
As the world ended, a selection of people got to move to the Sanctuary. There, the Community controls a lot of stuff, including relationships. Each person is given ten chances to find love, before settling into a life of solitude. For three months, these carefully chosen matches live together. After that time, either person can reject the match. Then they do it all again.
Leah is onto her seventh match assignment. She is amazingly empathetic, and remains close friends with most of her previous matches, but she is very plain, and her physical appearance has hindered any longer attachment with any man. She doesn’t expect to ever find love, and now simply goes in looking for friendship.
James is lonely by choice – haunted by his past. He is unimpressed when he sees the unattractive woman, his latest assignment, appear on his computer screen. He’s intends to get through the three months with as little attachment to Leah as possible.
But as the weeks pass by, James can’t help but be touched by her kind nature. Will the two learn to let go and love? If they can, will the Community even let them be happy?
Access Denied is a romance with a dystopian backdrop. The whole end of the world thing is not heavily focused on too much. Throughout the book, little pieces about the Community are dropped here and there. But the romance takes precedence.
I think that Leah is pretty easy to identify with. She’s never experienced love and goes into these three-month assignments with her speeches about just being friends ready to go. You’re sad on her behalf because she is so sensitive to how others feel, and she has so much to give, but just because she isn’t conventionally beautiful, no man wants to marry her.
James is a beast. He’s all grouchy and shut off. He’s been burned and hurt before and has written Leah off before she even walks through his door. It’s nice to see him open up over the course of the novel.
I liked the dystopian elements in Access Denied. The Community is kind of like Big Brother. They do control quite a few things – the relationships, and how people have to exercise, stuff like that. But it doesn’t have an oppressive feel to it, except for maybe later on when you learn more. Towards the end they take the stage a bit more.
I quite enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy some of Nora Roberts more out there books, especially Time and Again (two full length novels about time travel – I thought that the vibe there was similar to Access Denied).
My Rating: 4/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.75/5