Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: Karina Halle's "Love in English."

4.5 Hearts Review: Karina Halle's "Love in English."

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He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

Review: Surj

Why is it that infidelity seems more acceptable in fiction where in reality it rarely ever is? Karina Halle's "Love in English" is a prime example of just that.  I was dying to know what all the fuss was about when it came to this book  and as I turned the first page, I wondered whether my own moral integrity Would be questioned. Well… ummm… yes unfortunately it was. Should I apologise? No because as this story unraveled, it felt like destiny, fate even that this couple should be together.

“Love is like a thief, it robs you of all thought and logic and all you have left 
is a heart that you can only pray is strong enough to survive the rest.” 

Vera and Mateo's paths crossed when Vera decided take up an amazing opportunity and fly to Spain where she’d spend six weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, one of whom was the very handsome Mateo (fans self). These two lonely souls very quickly formed an unlikely friendship but (never in a million years) could either of them have predicted where that bond would take them.  On face value, the couple couldn't have been more different: Vera was a 23 year old student who was covered in tattoos and piercing and who liked to have a good time and Mateo... well he was a 38 year old ex professional footballer turned business man who was married with a kid. But you know that saying... opposites attract? Well that was definitely the case here. 

"This place changes the way you think, the way you look at people. 

It teaches you... that we're are all the same deep down. It doesn't matter 
your age or where you're from. We're all human suffering from the human condition.

Vera’s character was like a breath of fresh air. Despite being constantly pre-judged because of her appearance, I loved how she embraced life and new experiences. And the crush that she had on Mateo took me back to my younger years. All those feelings, all those emotions she went through felt like de ja vu. The nervousness when he was around, searching for him when he wasn’t, the way she got goose bumps from a simple look and the way her body tingled from a simple innocent touch… just brilliant. But what I loved most was this woman’s conscience. She tried everything to fight what she called a simple crush, even going to extreme lengths on occasion but the heart wants what the heart wants and despite her best efforts, she failed miserably in her fight to keep her feelings at bay. 

The moral police that had never known existed had apparently taken up some 
real estate in
my brain. They reminded me that he was married, and a bit drunk, 

and I should know better 

than to act on a damn crush. 

And Mateo.... my oh my was this man swoon worthy. A true gentleman in every sense but he had his own issues he was battling. Meeting Vera reignited a spark in him... one that he wanted to explore further. It wasn't sexual. It wasn't about Vera. It was about self discovery, it was about the man he used to be. 

“Sometimes you are stuck being the person you are and not the person you were. Or could be.”

Instead of hating Vera and Mateo, I found myself flying the flag for this couple… willing for them to work because what they shared, the connection they’d formed, most people can only ever dream of. Karina Halle did a sterling job in NOT making the relationship between this couple sleazy or sordid. There was no insta love or instant sexual chemistry. Instead what transpired was a touching friendship which seemed to naturally progress into something more and I for one was rooting for them. Was it wrong of me to feel that way? Well some might say so but in my heart, it felt right… sooo right. It did help that the book was told from Vera's POV and although we were given an insight into Mateo's home life, we were only given the bare minimum of information which definitely helped me compartmentalise the whole situation. 

Now, I know what love is. And I love you. And I cannot imagine going back to the life 
I had before, because that was no life at all. That was just existing. That was just chasing 
down the next day so I could feel it pass under me.” He placed his large hand over my heart. 
“You made me stop chasing days. You made me hold on to them.”

Unfortunately, the bubble they'd been in during their time at the retreat couldn't last forever and my biggest worry was what would happen when it was all over. Would the bubble burst as each character was thrust back into the claws of reality? As obstacles suddenly came at them at full force, I wondered whether love could really conquer all!!! Boy did this couple face some big decisions... life changing decisions.... decisions that left me heart broken, hurting for them and also frustrated at them at times. 

"There will be nights when you will feel alone and lost" he murmured in my hair. 
"Where I will feel alone and lost. When that happens, I want us both to remember this, 
right now. Bring our thoughts back to this room, this moment. 
Where we aren't lonely. Where we are both found." 

"Love, in English" truly was a beautiful, well written story not only of self discovery but also of finding your soul mate... that one person who just seems to fit. It wasn't conventional so be prepared to have your morals questioned... my advice... go in with an open mind and decide for your self because love is never as simple as black and white. 

"What is love in English"
"Love, in English, is love"
"What is it in Spanish?"
"No. Love in Spanish is you"

I rated "Love, in English" 4.5 hearts. 

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