This book is appropriately titled Finding Joy and the joy veritably leaps off the page at every turn. Desta comes to Ethiopia as an American aid worker, and his family had previously lived there when he was young. His connection to the country, the food, and the culture there was really beautiful to see throughout the book. I felt it at every turn and it was apparent that Hererra had a connection to Ethiopia herself. This different setting than the U.S. was incredibly refreshing and I loved that it was told with such care.
While working there, he is teamed with Elias to drive him around and to help on his team. Very shortly after they meet sparks fly between the two. I loved these two together, their conversations were fascinating about societal expectations in their countries and patriarchy and masculinity. Their romance slowly builds as the two connect over books and culture. It’s a slow build-up but when it bursts it’s steamy enough for just about anyone.
The stumbling block comes in with Elias not being able to be openly with Desta in Ethiopia as it’s not acceptable to be in a relationship with a man there. And of course that they live in two different countries is kind of an issue! Because it’s solidly a romance there is an HEA and there was never a truly bleak moment. I trusted Hererra to deliver that HEA and she definitely does. I’d love to see more romances like this – hopeful, joyful ones not set in the US. It was just delightful to read.
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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 Adriana Herrera