I received this as an arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Olivia Dade’s books are a lovely smooshy spot in a cold sharp world. In her current series of novellas, Love Unscripted, reality tv shows force non couples into situations where they reevaluate their relationship and finish falling in love.
In Tiny House, Big Love Lucy and Sebastián have been friends since they were children, when Sebastián emigrated from Guatemala to Marysburg. Sebastián was bullied and learned not to reveal anything about himself. Lucy befriended him and understands his guardedness, even as she wishes she didn’t have to do all the work to maintain their friendship. Now she’s getting ready to take a job that will have her moving from city to city. She would like to buy a tiny house that she can take with her instead of moving from rental to rental. She asks her good friend Sebastián to join her on a reality show in which she will look at three tiny houses. And maybe, Sebastián will finally admit he has feelings for Lucy.
Lucy is very crunchy granola, generous and feminine. Sebastián is so reserved he doesn’t even pictures of family up in his bedroom. He does love Lucy enough to go on tv with her, but still can’t tell her how he feels, or ask her to stay. If Lucy weren’t so willing to risk herself time and again, this would have been Remains of the Day with lots of pining and smiling faces over broken hearts as Lucy left town. But this is an Olivia Dade romance, not Kazuo Ishiguro, so we know Sebastián is not going to be left with regrets for a wasted life. Dade makes Sebastián work. He isn’t so shut down that I wonder what Lucy sees in him. Even so, in the end I was happy to see that Dade is sending Sebastián to therapy, because love can work wonders, but not miracles.