Title: Love In English
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 20 2014
He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.
He speaks Spanish. I speak English.
He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.
He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.
He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.
I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.
Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.
To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.
Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.
Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.
Something that can never, ever be.
Or so she thinks.
Wow! I loved this despite my initial reservations. The whole cheating theme is one I often tend to avoid as a reader and a reviewer but Karina Halle’s writing has captivated me in the past so I was determined to give this one a go and I’m so glad I did. Love, In English really did help me see past the forbidden love story and discover the depths of emotions hidden beneath and I so very much enjoyed Mateo and Vera’s story – possibly a more unlikely couple you’re not likely to see! It shouldn’t work but it just does.
Vera, herself a product of divorced parents is a Canadian college student setting out to participate in a language programme in the rolling Spanish hills – she is helping Spaniards brush up on their conversational English.
Vera’s quite an edgy character – all tattoos, piercings and bad attitude. She’s been used to a succession of casual sexual partners never really connecting emotionally with any of them. She’s headstrong, spiky, fairly singular and really not at peace with who she is. Her love of astronomy and all the constellations show a hidden desire to reach out and soar away from the misery of her home life and really and truly discover herself. And that’s just what she’s about to do in those intense four weeks at Las Palabras although she didn’t bank on meeting and falling in love with a married father – Mateo Cassalles.
Mateo is a former professional footballer who suffered a career-ending cruciate ligament injury and is now a successful restaurant owner and business man. He’s married to a very beautiful woman who is ‘quasi-royalty’ and father to a five year old daughter – the light of his life. He’s very much the metro-sexual and the descriptions given by Karina Halle really brought to mind real-life Spanish Keeper Iker Casillas – himself a beautiful man playing the beautiful game.
I truly adored Mateo with his easy charm, affable wit and gentle humour. He’s not a happy man, his marriage is floundering and he’s immediately besotted with Vera and they slowly get to know one another. Their attraction to one another is undeniable and the hothouse atmosphere of the Spanish retreat is allowing people to fall into bed with relatively unknown strangers but Mateo and Vera, his Estrella, really do fight it for the longest time – their guilt overrules their passion. Most especially in Vera’s case.
This has all the hallmarks of a great Karina Halle novel. She has a knack of placing people who would otherwise be considered anti-heroes right at the heart of the novel and coercing the reader into feeling sympathy and empathy with them and making them into heroes in their own right. She’s incredibly adept at making us the readers look beyond the faults and misdemeanours to find the beating heart of the vulnerable human being inside and rooting for them. In reality, if I read this story in a gossip rag, I would most definitely be on the side of Mateo’s wife and would hate him and Vera for what they have done but, when you get up close and personal with the story, the reverse is true. I expected Karina Halle to push my boundaries, she always does, but she really has made me leave some of that prejudice behind and understand the emotions involved.
As always, with Karina Halle, you get superlative character development – hers are always very character driven stories and Love, In English is no exception to that. All the secondary characters up on that Spanish hillside come vividly to life and I could really imagine myself under the European sun in that very insular little community that became the whole world to the participants for those four intense weeks. Love, In English is full of deep emotions, Karina’s trademark wit and and an edgy and challenging story line.
If, like me, cheating is a storyline that you steer away from, I can say that this one really did work for me and I am glad I read it. It’s very passionate as Mateo and Vera’s unrelenting chemistry builds to an incredible crescendo before they finally succumb and I found it to be such a genuine and refreshingly honest love story – love isn’t all saccharine sweet hearts and flowers. It’s often painful, difficult and only to be found at the end of a tortuous path and that’s exactly what you have here.
I’d like to thank the author for sending me an actual physical copy of the book for review – it’s been a long while since I curled up with a paperback and it felt like quite the novel experience and it’s such a pretty book!
So, all in all, another thoroughly excellent read from Karina Halle and, the way that this book consumed me, I can nothing but give it 5 stars and make it a Sinfully Sexy Recommended Read.
About the Author
With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.
EIT Website: http://experimentinterror.com