Olivia Dade is one of those authors that has slowly become one of my auto-buys because of the way she handles fatness, consent, and so many other topics. She has this way of weaving these issues into the fabric of her books without sacrificing plot, character, or emotion and always gives me incredible pay-off.
40-Love opens with truly one of the best and funniest scenes I’ve read in a romance in such a long time. Tess is unapologetically fat, happy with herself, and in a bikini when a wave swipes her top from her she frantically finds herself looking to cover up with whatever is closest to her…which happens to be Lucas. The bare breasted rescue is hilarious and sets the stage for their relationship that follows.
Dade’s characters are the kind I love to see in books – realistic, messy, and vulnerable. Tess is an over 40 year old High School Assistant Principal on a well deserved vacation with her friend, and Lucas is a 26 year old tennis instructor at the resort they’re staying at. As their relationship develops the two have some steamy, yet realistic sex, but also share incredible banter
Tess is allowed to be really strong and own her body but also have weaknesses and pains in that body which was such a breath of fresh air to read. She’s also not always so great at recognizing that she’s not listening to Lucas fully. So when the two finally have an argument I was cheering at the real issues being brought up.
While Lucas shows up for her over and over the scene I love the most – beyond the opener – comes at the end when the two have the most adult discussion about their future. They’ve clearly fallen for each other but have huge barriers in moving forward together. I love romances where they don’t have miscommunications and this fully laid everything out in black and while and I was basically swooning.
The only thing about this book I didn’t love was all the tennis talk, which let’s face it, I should have expected going in. I prefer my sports in my romance like I do in real life: next to nonexistent! But that’s just a quibble.
Really, I loved this and rec it for basically everyone.
I’ve been a reader since I was young and if I don’t read every day I feel like there’s something wrong! Listening to audiobooks and reading digitally changed my life in the best ways.
I love paranormal, YA, and contemporary. My favorite authors are Nalini Singh, Alyssa Cole, Sarah MacLean, and Katrina Jackson. I basically talk about books all day, everywhere. I’m an admin of #RomanceSparksJoy, co-host of RomBkPod, and a freelance editor.
disclosure: Melinda is Twitter friends with Olivia Dade