Book reviews

Teach Me (There’s Something About Marysburg, #1) by Olivia Dade

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Happy New Year to all!!

This marks my first read for 2022, and I’m happy to start another year of amazing reads with this humorous, incredibly charming romantic comedy by Olivia Dade. Teach Me tells the story of Rose Owens, a hardworking social studies teacher with a tough, impenetrable exterior — one worthy of the title “Ice Queen”. Growing up in a poor household, Rose had been subjected to the lingering prejudices of those around her–that being poor she cannot have nice clothes, that she must stay within her “ranks”, that she must remain within the same circles, and that, ultimately, she cannot change her quality of life by making a name for herself.

Rose’s life experiences prompted her to prioritize self-preservation–never letting anyone in, and no one ever comes close. At least until she learns that her social studies classes are being taken over by another teacher, Martin Krause. Despite being forced to share her classroom with Martin, Rose is determined to keep the students motivated and ensure high enrollment rates in the next year’s AP classes. If accomplishing this goal means she needs to work and collaborate with Martin, then so be it, but she will maintain her distance.

There is nothing really extraordinary about Martin Krause. He is a kind, hardworking 40-something teacher of world history, with a daughter who is currently enrolled in the school as a senior. Having been divorced for several years now, and his daughter moving out to college soon, Martin just wants to make the most out of the year by spending more time with his daughter. The teaching job with Rose will also help add to his daughter’s college fund.

Well, I don’t want to give away most of the storyline, but to briefly summarize, Rose and Martin working together will bring them closer. But will this be enough to melt the Ice Queen’s heart? 🙂 You have to read to find out~

What I like most about this novel is that its characters are mature in personality and age, which transforms the target demographic into an entirely different category. And that despite this, the romantic comedy genre was executed smoothly. That romance works even with these kinds of mature characters is refreshing and one I don’t often see. The author was also able to set the scenes clearly, making room for both seriousness and humor. That these two contrasting concepts can exist together to make the story more alive.

I give this book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. Some scenes are incredibly humorous and I found myself laughing out loud in the wee hours of the night. However, I just think the story focused a lot more on the main characters’ battle with their inner demons. This aspect is good too, but with the mention of many external factors like Rose’s ex-husband, Martin’s ex-wife, Martin’s abusive family members, Rose’s scrutinizing circle, etc., it would have made for a more compelling twist should any of these factors been confronted.

I learned a lot as I attempted to step into the main characters’ mindsets. I saw through Rose’s layer of protection, the one she keeps wrapped tightly around herself and her emotions. I saw how she avoided being hurt by other people, and how she struggled to keep her pride above everything else. I also went through Martin’s internal pep talk–how patient he was as he unraveled Rose’s story, how he chose to practice self-care and eventually took the things he deserved. Surely, it is the development and personality transformation of these characters that urged me to finish reading–like you have to see things through or else you’ll miss something amazing.

The story line may be simple for this read, but the character development was rich and it is one I am grateful to see. I also think it rightly fits the timing of the new year–that if we choose to stick it out and really decide to change for the better, then it’s never too late to confront our bad habits and our inner demons, whatever your age.

P.S.: There seems to be two more books following this one. I’ll definitely check those out next time. 🙂

  • Title: Teach Me
  • Author: Olivia Dade
  • Year published: 2019
  • Publisher: Hussies & Harpies Press
  • Total number of pages: 276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-945-83602-2

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