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Teach Me by Olivia Dade

cartoon cover of a scowling/smirking fat white woman in a black dress and a slim white man in a grey cardigan and a blue tie against an aqua background with the tagline "even ice queens can melt"Why I read it:  I have enjoyed the author’s earlier books. Spoiler alert: this one is her best yet.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  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.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’m going to try not to gush but it’s going to be difficult. From the first page, I settled in to happily enjoying Teach Me. The characterisations are rich and layered, the messaging is strong without being preachy, the inclusivity is just there without it having to be a thing, an analog to the real world we live in.

As a hero-centric reader, I fell almost immediately for Martin who is a gorgeous cinnamon roll of a hero with his own vulnerabilities and pain points. He is ever and always respectful of Rose, of her desires and wishes and needs, of women in general in fact.

Not a single word from her mouth was objectionable. Not a single word from her mouth was personal, either. She didn’t ask him about himself. She didn’t tell him about herself. She didn’t smile. She didn’t do anything but give him necessary, job-related information.

And that was absolutely, unequivocally her choice. She didn’t owe him, a near-stranger, smiles or warmth or personal information or interest.

He’d told his daughter Bea the same thing many, many times over the years. Being a woman didn’t obligate her to make men—or anyone—comfortable in her presence. People who said otherwise could contemplate their terrible life choices while she shoved their arrogant presumption somewhere exceedingly painful.

Rose’s chilliness didn’t offend him. Not at all.

It did worry him, though.

Another Dream by Mary Balogh (from Once Upon A Dream anthology)

Once upon a dreamWhy I read it:  I adore Mary Balogh books so I bought it. (I haven’t yet read the Grace Burrowes story. I may not ever do so as I really only bought it for the Balogh novella.)

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Miss Eleanor Thompson has found satisfaction as the director of a respected school for girls. The life of a dedicated educator offers many rewards and much meaning–but also more loneliness than Eleanor anticipated. She accepts an invitation from her sister, Christine, Duchess of Bewcastle, to attend a Bedwyn houseparty, never dreaming the summer curriculum might include stolen kisses and true love. 

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I was feeling in the mood for a comfort type read but I also wanted a story I hadn’t read before – so I turned to Mary Balogh. She is ever the comfort read to me. I just sink into her books like I would a comfy couch.

Eleanor Thompson is Christine’s sister (as in Wulfric’s wife). She is now the owner/operator of the Bath school for girls formerly run by Claudia Martin, now the Marchioness of Attingsborough. On her way to Lindsey Hall for a summer holiday with her family, she is stranded at an inn waiting out a storm. There, she meets a charming man, a widower with two young children, Michael Benning, the Earl of Staunton. Robert is five years old and very shy, Georgette is # and precocious, voluble and whip smart. The children take a shine to Eleanor and Eleanor and Michael take a shine to each other.

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