BOOK REVIEW ~ LOVE, IN ENGLISH BY KARINA HALLE
February 7, 2019
He speaks Spanish. I speak English.
He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.
He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.
He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.
Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.
To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.Something that can never, ever be.
I think Karina Halle has shown readers what a versatile writer she is – first she dazzles with fast-paced, action-packed stories such as The Artists trilogy and then a suspenseful horror romance like Donners of the Dead and now with her first contemporary romance. I think from the blurb it’s quite obvious that some form of cheating will occur – whether it be physical, emotional, or both and though it’s a touchy subject I wouldn’t be too worried about that part. I think the author addresses infidelity, cheating, and breaking vows in a very tasteful and respectful manner. Nothing about cheating is glorious; even if finding love is a product, there’ll always be a tainted reminder that the new relationship began on a foundation of deceit. Thus, I really admire the author for writing about such a controversial and forbidden topic and as her first contemporary romance too – that took a lot of guts.
While this book was exceptionally well-written and handled a taboo subject very well (meaning I didn’t want to smash pumpkin all over the MC’s faces), I didn’t love it. I liked it and the writing was amazing as usual, but there are too many factors stacked up against that one great quality. This book was realistic – to a certain extent. What I considered to be as realistic was the temptation, the breaking of vows, and the guilt trip. Sadly, I never once believed in their love. Call me a cynic but I just simply couldn’t see them in a long-term relationship. Albeit the process of what they went through and the degree to which both gave up certain things tugged at my heartstrings, I was never invested nor convinced of their love. I’ve seen this mentioned in a few other reviews and couldn’t agree more – I NEEDED MATEO’S POV. I needed more than Estrella, stars, and other constellations. I’m sorry, but reading this entire story from Vera’s perspective was incredibly draining and I couldn’t connect with Mateo’s character at all. With this book’s highly complex and multi-faceted premise it’s absolutely necessary (at least for me) to include both main character’s POVs in order to get a fuller sense of the story. Like the scene where he and Vera confront his wife? Thatwas one scene I desperately needed his POV because as of now, I’m struggling to accept his actions there. I also don’t believe in insta-love so the speed at which they fell in love and then subtracting Mateo’s POV didn’t give me much to believe in to begin with.
I definitely enjoyed the second half more than the first half – it’s not that I don’t like details but I was about to suffocate on all the extra descriptions of this and that in the first half and I just want their fricking story already; cut the extra! But that’s just me and so I was pretty bored there.
I already knew my rating the moment I finished reading; I just didn’t know what to say to back it up. So…3 stars for the rather mediocre reading experience on my part and the extra half star because I liked this more than I disliked it and because Karina Halle worried that her first romance would be a failure. It wasn’t.
A copy of the book was gifted to me by Kathleen Tucker. Thank you!