On the heels of an unexpected boost in his career, Professor Benjamin Beck, 38, moves east for a new teaching position. At a mysterious party, he meets Naomi Costa, 20, (her stated age, although background stories add up to 22/23) and the two indulge in a sultry hook-up.
The opening scene with this anonymous masked rave party pulled me in. Though it later seemed like a bit of a dropped plot point, it set an intriguing mood and initiated the chemistry between the two. I also liked that it established the heroine as a typical college student with a normal sexual history—in other words no sheltered virgins here.
“Screw the world that sees only whores and virgins, bad girls and good.”
As a student-teacher romance, I was pleased that it avoided some of the unromantic themes that often beset these kinds of stories. Specifically, while their illicit encounters are obviously forbidden, and they do wrestle with that, Ben doesn’t turn to other women his age or even think about it. There’s some push-pull, but their feelings are always all in. The two indulge in plenty of clandestine moments, carrying out their forbidden romance.
“‘You look at me just like that in class,’ I tell her.
‘This is what I’m thinking about in class.’
She cups my balls in her hands, just sliding one finger along my perineum.”
I typically side-eye a mature, educated professor willing to risk throwing away his career, but it worked here with Ben’s characterization drawn around his field of study, specifically his interest in nihilism.
Though the tone with the taboo romance felt angsty, the threat of being caught high, the actual plot avoided angst fairly well.
Dean Osgood. Oh I wasn’t always sure how he was meant to be taken for a large part of the book. He’s a goofy little man, erratic maybe, but I got a kick out of him. I don’t know if the humor was intended, but I found some.
That’s not to say there weren’t some issues that did distract. There’s a few continuity errors, like her dress is off and then still on. And I was never entirely clear on Ben’s position as Master of College (or Master in College.) I’ve never heard of the position, but I also didn’t attend an Ivy League school. It really felt more like they were at a small private college. Either way, I felt like his title was simply to play on the Master moniker.
And then there’s the wanting a baby in the throws of passion moment that I could always do without. I just don’t find a serious decision like that something to be utilized as a way to bind people with bigger issues. And while they both think about, I still didn’t find it romantic. Thankfully it never materialized.
Told via Ben and Naomi’s alternating first person POV, if you are looking for a safe student-teacher read, this would be one to check out.
*Title purchased from Amazon in February 2019. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions.