Release Date: October 26th, 2021
Charlotte Hilaire has a love-hate relationship with her work as a museum courier. On the one hand, it takes her around the world. On the other, her plan to become a professor is veering dangerously off track.
Yet once in a while, maybe every third trip or so, the job goes delightfully sideways…
When a blizzard strands Charlotte in Spain for a few extra days and she’s left with glorious free time on her hands, the only question is: Dare she invite her grad school crush for an after-dinner drink on a snowy night?
Accomplished, take-no-prisoners art historian Adrianna Coates has built an enviable career since Charlotte saw her last. She’s brilliant. Sophisticated. Impressive as hell and strikingly beautiful.
Hospitable, too, as she absolutely insists Charlotte spend the night on her pullout sofa as the storm rages on.
One night becomes three and three nights become a hot and adventurous long-distance relationship when Charlotte returns to the States. But when Adrianna plots her next career move just as Charlotte finally opens a door in academia, distance may not be the only thing that keeps them apart.
The premise of the book hooked me with promises of two academic Black queer women who find each other many years since their last interaction and fall in love. Plus, with Madrid as a backdrop, I was really eager to dive into this. Meet Me in Madrid is all of those things, but it’s so much more than just a love story and I like that I was able to go on this journey with them as they figured out their own lives and careers.
While addressing important issues or homophobia and racism, the book also tackles love and following your dreams. Both women – Charlotte and Adrianna – have big dreams and aspirations. They want to achieve so much in their lives that their dreams are sometimes bigger than they are. But it shows you how two people so academically gifted are able to find the balance in the hard world they live in to make time for each other. One of the strong themes in the book is the lack of diversity in academia and how these two women question it, discuss it and do whatever it takes to change it. And the diversity is not just about people of colour, but people of different sexual orientations.
Charlotte and Adrianna’s romance is cute, sexy and definitely steamy. Their attraction to each other kicks off almost as soon as they are reunited and I love that it wasn’t all shy and coy, they tackled it head on and enjoyed every minute of it. Their relationship might be the central focus of the book, but it shares place with the details of their respective careers. I feel like we got so much insight into their work lives and how they try to make it work instead of getting more about their relationship. This is partly because the two characters are barely ever together in the same place and their relationship relies heavily on phone calls and FaceTime conversations. And while I loved their romance, I felt like it wasn’t enough.
The deep dive into their respective careers was too much for me, but I’m sure that this much information and insight would definitely appeal to some other readers. I also enjoyed meeting the secondary characters and seeing how all of them play into the story.
I am definitely intrigued by what else Verity Lowell might right in the future, because her style of writing, her knowledge of the topics and the focus on queer women of colour really made this story a strong one.
Thanks to Carina Press & NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.