Olivia Dade’s Teach Me was one of my favorite books this year. I was thrilled to be offered an ARC for Desire and the Deep Blue Sea by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Edit: Today is release day for Desire and the Deep Blue Sea. I decided to come back and look at the review before tweeting it out and posting it on Amazon. I remembered I struggled with this review. Around the time I initially wrote this, my brain was protesting that I was wording too much for too many different people. When I reread my original review, I realized that it made no fucking sense. So here it is – a rewritten review that I hope makes at least a little bit of sense.
Callie and Thomas work together at a research library. Callie and her boyfriend are scheduled to go on a reality tv show in which couples tour island resorts. When the book opens, Callie’s jerk boyfriend has just dumped her and she is about to lose the paid vacation she desperately needs. She sees Thomas bobbing around as he always is and realizes she can ask him to be her fake boyfriend. Thomas agrees, because he has a crush on her. The downside, Thomas is the reason Callie wants a break from work and now she’s taking her biggest stress trigger with her on a romantic island tour in front of cameras.
Thomas is hoping to demonstrate to Callie that he is a man she could date when they get back home. He isn’t expecting sex, but he is hoping for romance. As soon as the vacation starts, Thomas impresses Callie with the way he listens to her and is respectful of her needs. I identified a lot with Callie’s feeling like she’s too much because she needs other people to accommodate her anxiety. I loved the matter of fact kindness that Thomas employs to bend the production team to his will. To Thomas, it isn’t an imposition to make adjustments for Callie’s happiness. I want more of this.
I wish that we had spent more time with Callie and Thomas before the vacation. According to Callie, Thomas’ behavior at work is stifling and isolating, so it would have been nice to see their work dynamic to see how much they had to overcome to get to their HEA. One of the things that Teach Me did so well was show how Rose and Martin evolved in relation to one another. I would have liked to have had more of that.
All that said, Olivia Dade is on my autobuy list. I love reading her books. Her characters are kind, smart and funny. I loved Callie and Thomas, I just wanted more of them.