Fear is sabotage's sweetest weapon.
Kate has no time for meaningless romantic charades, and definitely no time for hot college professors who are full of themselves and smitten with her. Constantly battling eviction notices, tuition she can't afford, and a sick, dependent mother, the last thing she needs is to be distracted with someone else's complicated baggage.
When she stumbles into Ryan Campbell's creative writing class, he is only "Mr. Campbell" to her, until Ryan finds himself captivated by her writing and she is forced to face their mutual attraction. His cocky know-it-all syndrome is enough to send her running in the other direction, and his posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are enough to squander any odds in her favor.
But underneath Ryan's abrasive facade is something to behold, and she can't stay away for long. Ryan and Kate must decide who they're willing to become and fight against their former selves if they want to make things work. That's if academia, vicious vixens, old skeletons, and their own mastery at self-destruction don't pummel their efforts first.
My genre of choice is horror, but I’m also a sucker for a good romance, if its written with style. “Preservation,” flows smoothly, with fast-pacing that doesn’t hesitate. I read it in two days. The story is Ryan and Kate’s, only. I appreciate other side stories didn’t interrupt this. For example, Kate had two adoring friends, Carter and Dean, and their lives never interrupted the main story. Wade never lets side-plots crash the main party. Her plot began strong and followed through.
The main characters did get so much attention, that other characters fell flat. However, I enjoyed the characters of Ryan and Kate enough, this didn’t bother me. Furthermore, and purely personal, I could relate to both of them, because they are writers. This is where it also got a little sticky for me. Ryan and Kate were writers and I never knew ‘what’ they wrote about. Ryan had a novel in place, and so did Kate, but I didn’t even catch a glimpse of the genre until the very end when Ryan mentioned his story was a horror.
If much of their connection was writing, shouldn’t it have been discussed in greater detail rather than the generics of good writing. Good writing can mean so many things, from plot, characterization, passive and aggressive voice balances, sentence balance, setting, good dialogue, etc. But just discussing a character from one of their books would have been a plus for me.
Good writing reminds me in many ways of pitcher in a major league baseball game. He throws the ball with many things in mind, the batter and how he hits, his team’s positioning, the kind of ball to throw and what he can pitch, the score, who’s on base, etc. My point is, so many things go into writing, and just maybe Wade felt like talking about the writing in a large way could have distracted from her main plot.
But, in my opinion it could have embellished it, drawing to a deeper understanding of Ryan and Kate. A writer always puts much of themselves into their stories. Why should it be different for Ryan and Kate?
Now, even though I missed this element, it didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the rest, like the idea that both Ryan and Kate were swimmers. They water burned off stress for both of them. This is a huge connection for me. In addition to the personal connection I felt for both characters, I thought Wade did a swell job of developing a past for both of them making it difficult to stay together.
Many reviewers didn’t understand Ryan, and considered him a jerk, but this is where I feel a reader ‘shouldn’t just read with their eyes,’ as noted by Thomas C. Foster in his book, “How to read like a Professor.” In this book he notes James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” where he sympathizes with an uptight professor and his drug addict brother.
Ryan, because of his past should be sympathized with, just as Kate and her struggle with hers. Just because Ryan is a man doesn’t make him a bad guy, his actions are no different than those of many women, who have had their heart broken. Bravo, to Wade on story building with these two characters. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who believes love deserves a second chance.
“Preservation” by Rachel Wade can be found at Amazon.com.