Anna has landed her dream job as an Assistant Professor of English literature at a prestigious college in the South. Instead of charging ahead with her career, however, she is confronted by hurdles, pitfalls and mysteries. Why does no one restrain the demented hoarder who secretly uses her office as his private storeroom? Who is responsible for her sudden loss in salary? What is behind the vandalism in her department? Is it a personal attack against her irreverent and somewhat unconventional teaching
Professor Giles Cleveland is supposed to mentor her in all this, but he’s arrogant, sardonic, condescending, disconcertingly attractive and – Anna keeps reminding herself as the temptation to start a kamikaze affair with him becomes overwhelming – absolutely out of bounds. Anna and Giles grow increasingly reckless and it is only a matter of time before they will be caught and Anna’s career will crash and burn. But when the crash comes, it’s worse than Anna imagined. And far better than she could have dreamed.
Well, this book is definitely not what I had expected, with the tag line "He's sexy, he's a Professor, and he's English. Did I mention the dirty talk?" I'm expecting some cocky, self assured Brit with sex appeal dripping off him. Alas, that was not the case. This book did have drama, mystery, suspense and a hint of romance. Personally, I'd class it as contemporary fiction with a dash of romance.
Anna Lieberman has just moved from the bright lights of NYC, down south to Virginia to take up a new Assistant Professor role at prestigious Ardrossan College. There she meets mentor and Englishman extrodinarre Giles Cleveland. They don't necessarily hit it off initially, yet there is always an undercurrent of attraction between them that builds to an uncontrollable peak. Anna struggles to settle easily into her new role, not to mention her office which has been the home to resider horader and the certifably crazy professor next door. We get an in depth look at the runnings of such a prestigous institution, dealing with errant students, rape claims and vandalism, just to name a few. It's not just the strange characters at work she needs to deal with either, since taking up residence in a little cottage on a tomato farm, the strange owners also become part of the story.
What did I like about this story? I enjoyed the main characters. Anna is such a determined and strong willed character. From the moment she stepped foot into Ardrossan, things didn't go according to plan, but she takes it all in her stride. Even when she begins to understand her feelings for Giles, and undertands the difficulties that lie ahead, she is mature about her decision making. Anna is driven, and one of the most talented and achieved young professors. Once the romance between Giles and Anna begins, I was blown away. Nina writes the intensity felt between them so well. We really feel the build up between them, the longing and anticipation of WHEN something will happen, and when it does, Oh My! the birds are chirping, fireworks, all the old cliches you can think of. Giles is so very loveable, the epitome of what Anna is looking for in a man. Although distinguished and well scholared, you see the nervous and anxious boy underneath the facade, he's just as scared to confront his feelings, but when he does, he dives in head first.
"Hardly the most irresponsible thing you've ever done" "Well, no"
We're looking at each other in the dim light shining in from the Walshes' porch, and we're thinking the same thing.
"I'm not going to do the most irresponsible thing - ever," I manage to say.
"Now what would that be?"
He actually wants me to say it. Then I will say it
"Ask you in for coffee"
"I wouldn't come in, either. You know I couldn't. Not in this world"
"On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like him? Anna?
"Eleven. Twelve. A hundred." My laugh doesn't sound like a laugh at all
"Then maybe you should risk it. If you love him, you should risk it."
"Anna, what if he is your beshert?"
My heart misses a beat, and I have to grab the edge of my desk for support. "I don't believe in beshert."
Tim stares at me and blinks.
"It totally kills me when you use British slang in that Noo Yoak voice of yours. I would so do you Anna, if" He looks at Giles for corroboration.
"And I will so gag you, Timmy-my-man, if you don't watch your mouth," Giles says.
"Anna, if you do meet Teddy and Aleatha later on, you will mind your language, won't you? You have the mouth of a ghetto queen on you."
I did end up enjoying the story and the epilogue finished it quite beautifully. I'd recommend this read to those that are looking for something a little different - more 'literary' where the romance isn't the centre of the story. I just want to prepare you, have a dictionary handy!