A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

#SnowInLoveBingo shorts

on January 16, 2022

Square: Five Star Prediction. All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter.

This square is the anti-me. There is not a writer in the world I think so highly of I would predict their book would be a five star read for me. No, not even K.J. Charles.

So I interpreted this square as “book I expect to enjoy.” And since I’d just read this piece (and if you’re even on the Internet, you probably have too) I had reasonable expectations of enjoyment, which were definitely met. This is a well-named memoir (why is there no book challenge prompt of “pun in the title this year?!) of the author’s life after losing her job and becoming a travel blogger. It’s funny, well suited to the overall challenge because she and her husband are ridiculously in love, and even (I bet she would gag if she read this) inspirational at times.

I’m probably the perfect audience for this book, because I’m happily married and it reminds me so much of me and my husband (like DeRuiter, I’m the anxious, controlling one and he’s the laid-back one, but sometimes we have to switch) so I didn’t find it annoyingly mushy as some readers did. Also, I’m struggling with depression right now (long story) and some hopeful words about finding what you need when you’re lost really hit the spot.

Square: Cozy. His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto

I’ll sometimes see people complaining about the lack of aromantic romance and I confess, I find this very baffling. But this struck me as possibly filling the bill? It’s definitely an asexual romance — steam level 0, the author warns — and though the main characters are undoubtedly in love it’s all expressed very… well, quietly. The lovely thing about the book is that it somehow hits all the beats for a satisfying romance anyway. It falls under the hurt/comfort trope, with Arthur taking care of his coworker Martin, who has literally no one else to take care of him (though there are people he cares about, we learn) and very gently and carefully inviting him into a relationship of home cooked meals and movies.

This also hit me in a personal way because it reminds me, not of my relationship with my husband, but of my long-time best friend. I’m pretty sure now that’s she’s autistic, but as with Martin in this book, it’s hard to know for sure whether it’s definitely autism and/or a trauma response that made them so closed off. It was work, but rewarding work to be her friend. (And probably the other way around, too. Another connection that just occurred to me — I had a very restricted diet and she was the person who got me to try new food. I’ve been wishing and hoping for someone to come along to do that for my daughter.) We’re both straight, but I was always a little bit in love with her and I could see us ending up like Arthur and Martin, if our lives had gone in a different way.

2 responses to “#SnowInLoveBingo shorts

  1. Faranae says:

    Putting “pun in the title” in the ideas file for next year’s URC. 😉

    The second book sounds rather nice, though I don’t usually touch contemporary unless I’m reviewing. I totally get the call for “aromantic romance” – queerplatonic life partners, for one! The notion of a romantic relationship where neither partner actually feels romantic attraction, yet it’s something other than “best friends”.

    Also the only way I could do a “5 star prediction” is maybe if someone found some previously unpublished Audre Lorde prose or something??

    • willaful says:

      It really is very nice! My only caveat is it’s not clear whether Martin “just happens to be” asexual or it’s a trauma response. But it’s a very positive portrayal of an asexual relationship. Now you need to read it just to say whether it qualifies as aromantic or not. 🙂

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