Tuesday, 28 September 2021

#CBR13 Book 36: "Teach Me" by Olivia Dade

Page count: 276 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

CBR13 Bingo: Rec'd (by Emmalita, Narfna and FaintingViolet)

Official book description:

Their lesson plans didn't include love. But that's about to change...

When Martin Krause arrives at Rose Owens's high school, she's determined to remain chilly with her new colleague. Unfriendly? Maybe. Understandable? Yes, since a loathsome administrator gave Rose's beloved world history classes to Martin, knowing it would hurt her.

But keeping her distance from a man as warm and kind as Martin will prove challenging, even for a stubborn, guarded ice queen. Especially when she begins to see him for what he truly is: a man who's never been taught his own value. Martin could use a good teacher--and luckily, Rose is the best.

Rose has her own lessons--about trust, about vulnerability, about her past--to learn. And over the course of a single school year, the two of them will find out just how hot it can get when an ice queen melts. 

Olivia Dade has been on my TBR list for literally years and I even got an ARC of this book back in 2019, before it was first published. The original cover for the book was not the appealing and beautiful one it has now. Hence I forgot about it and my Netgalley completion stats got that little bit worse. Since then, I've seen Dade's books raved about on a number of romance review sites, as well as on our own Cannonball Read. I kept promising myself that I would pick up one of her books, any day now. The lovely MsWas even gifted me Spoiler Alert. So when I was going to choose a book for the "Rec'd" category on this year's CBR Bingo, I was pretty sure it had to be one of Olivia Dade's, and my guilty conscience about never having reviewed my NetGalley ARC reared its head - so Teach Me became the obvious choice. That it's a book about teachers certainly didn't hurt either.

It will come as no surprise to any of the many who have read Dade's books that of course, I loved this. It feels like so much of this year has been one long reading slump, with the occasional exception that lights up my life and where I finish the book in 24-48 hours. Teach Me was absolutely one of those books. I loved both Rose and Martin and while the American school system is rather different from ours (in Norwegian schools, you have exactly the same classes in secondary school no matter what your thoughts on higher education, while you apply for high schools based on your general interest and future plans - either vocational or prep for higher education). School management here prefer one teacher to follow their classes for the three years they go to secondary school, if at all possible (which is why I currently have only classes in tenth grade, all kids I've taught for three years and know really well). So what happens to Rose would be very unlikely to happen to me. 

Nor would I have to spend lots of my money on extra classroom resources for the pupils (one more hooray for socialism, making sure the schools provide pretty much everything the teachers and kids need during the school year - sometimes our text books are a bit outdated, but I've never had to buy my own school supplies). Nevertheless, teachers who really care about their students and want what is best for them are the same sort of people no matter where in the world you go, and Rose and Martin are obviously dedicated and hard-working teachers, who just need to work through the awkwardness of the unpleasant school administrator who decided to try to sabotage Rose, so they can fully appreciate their mutual attraction and move towards their HEA.

I love that Rose's ex-parents-in-law basically refused to cut ties with her after her divorce, and were fully aware both why the marriage didn't work out and the flaws of their own son. Rose is clearly a treasure, her ex was clearly a losing proposition, and I'm glad she didn't have to lose her lovely and supportive in-laws in the divorce. Martin's daughter was also a lovely supporting character, as were several of the other staff at school. 

Now that I've finally taken the plunge, so to speak, and let myself really experience Ms. Dade's writing, I'm obviously going to seek out everything else she's written. Thankfully I have amassed quite a lot of her books in various e-book sales, so I should be able to catch up with the rest of the Marysburg stories and then the Spoiler Alert books (since the new one is out in October) before the end of the year. 

Judging a book by its cover: When I got the ARC from Netgalley, the cover art for Teach Me was very much not the sophisticated and lovely cover created by Leni Kauffman (who it seems does ALL of Dade's cover art now - excellent decision). There's been a lot of debate about the current trend of cartoony covers for both romance and chick-lit recently, but I think we can all agree that based on the rather "I mocked this up on photo-shop in about an hour" cover of the ARC I got, it's not that surprising that I never got round to reading the book. I know now that I shouldn't have judged the book, but I did, and I'm very happy that Olivia Dade now has gorgeous and inviting book covers that hopefully make her sell tons more books. She deserves it. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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