Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm here for you, if you let me: THAW.

Thaw (Seasons of Love, #2)Thaw by Elyse Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Abby is an introverted librarian happily living a regular life in Brooklyn. But things change when she attends a charity gala with a friend and meets Gabrielle, a famous actress and model. The two connect on the dance floor, and Abby is immediately taken by this lovely woman known in modeling circles as the Ice Queen. And while she can see how Gabrielle has earned this nickname, she also senses a softer side to her. Gabrielle asks Abby on a date, and the two begin to get to know each other, discovering they have a lot of similar interests. But even though Gabrielle seems to let her guard down around Abby, she also has problems opening up about her past. Meanwhile, while Abby finds Gabrielle fascinating, she's worried what will happen to their relationship when she admits she's asexual. She's also dealing with issues in her own personal life related to her library position. Can these two women overcome a variety of obstacles to find love?

This novel definitely follows the trope of a regular gal falling for the rich, remote, often angry lesbian: you have to surrender yourself to that and you'll enjoy the book more (much like watching a romantic comedy). There is a little too much focus at times on the fact that Gabrielle runs hot and cold, and her personal dynamics can be slightly weird at points. Still, even while occasionally annoyed, I found myself intrigued and interested at her reticence and wondering at its cause.

However, the real star of this show isn't Gabrielle, but Abby. Abby is just a real sweetheart. She's truly the force of the book. I personally identified with her and adored her love of books, avoidance of makeup, and general introverted self. She was a well-written character, and I found myself wanting to protect her. The fact she's asexual is interesting, and it really cast a light on a sexual orientation that I knew very little about. It was a good learning experience, honestly.

Much like said romantic comedies I mentioned earlier, a lot of this plot is predictable, but the book was written well-enough that I didn't mind: it's what I had signed up for, after all, and I was happy to be along for the ride. I still was really excited for the outcome and read the entire thing in about 24 hours. Besides, the novel has a hidden depth to it, giving us an interesting commentary on society's expectations about sex and relationships. Plus, Springer inserts some hidden inside jokes about books, literary series, and such. A lot of the novel just made me smile, between Abby, the asides, and the overall resolution. It was surprising and for the most part, very enjoyable. Probably a 3.75 stars, but bumped up to 4 stars due to the way it made me feel. I will definitely seek out the other novels in Springer's Season of Love series (this was actually #2, but it seemed to stand-alone just fine).

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 04/24/2017.

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