Love in English [book review]

While Love in English isn’t a book I would typically review here I am happy to offer four-stars for this emotional page-turner.

Love in English Book Review

With her first foray into romance, self-publishing maven Karina Halle has weaved a piece of her soul into the words and pages of Love, in English.

Overall I found this a satisfying read. The emotional story, told by 23-year-old Vancouverite Vera Mills, kept me captivated well past bedtime for more nights than I care to admit. And although Vera overuses words like “just” and “totally” I could still identify with and even like her, despite not having much in common with her.

The narrative takes us from Spain to Canada and back to Spain again where we see Vera fall desperately in love with a married man. We struggle alongside as she wrestles with shame, guilt, and lust and empathize as she deals with the complications of inconvenient and forbidden love. Both the back cover and the prologue tell us this so I don’t know why I was surprised when they finally get together most of the way through part one.

I don’t know what I hoped would happen, everything was so complicated.

Maybe that’s the point, relationships are never straightforward or black and white. And even the right decision hurts someone. You can’t get through life without a few battle wounds.

One thing I wish was covered more was the idea that choices made to appease guilt are still selfish. Although disguised as selfless all motivation behind the choice is to make yourself feel better. I found the book’s argument that love is selfish interesting as this is the most shallow (although probably the most exciting) form of love. I would have liked to see Vera mature in her understanding of love (advancing beyond lust and selfishness) and relationships.

Love, in English takes on difficult themes and doesn’t rush past the tough stuff. However, the story was a bit unbalanced as there wasn’t equal time spent resolving the problems as there was building up to them. The wrapped-up-in-a-bow ending didn’t feel cheesy (I was ready for the emotional roller coaster to end) although upon reflection it didn’t feel as realistic as the rest of the story. Still, a satisfying read.

Other Book Reviews