A Lesson in Love by Harper BlissA Lesson In Love by Harper Bliss is a sweet age gap romance that shows having the courage to make changes to our lives can lead to some of the most exceptional happiness we will ever experience.

Helen Swift has grown tired of her day job as a professor at Oxford University. At almost fifty years of age, her heart just isn’t into guiding students in their continuing education. Secretly, she prefers to write cozy mysteries under a well-hidden pen name in her Cotswolds cottage. Between her day job and her dream job, Helen is way too busy to even consider a romance, especially when she decides it’s time to come out as a mystery writer. But when Victoria “Rory” Carlisle walks into her office, Helen’s plans for no romance go out the window.

Rory still can’t believe that Professor Helen Swift has agreed to be her DPhil supervisor. At first Rory believes it’s because of Helen’s academic prowess that has her so enamored. However, Rory takes a personal shine to Helen that goes beyond simple admiration. If only Rory could get Helen to see her as more than a student.

Helen is a tough nut to crack, but Rory is up for the challenge of showing the lovely professor just how good they could be together.

The Characters

I have to confess that I was a little worried when I started this book. In the beginning, Helen is a jaded Oxford English Professor, and Rory is a vibrant 27-year-old student. Their two conflicting demeanors made it hard to see romance as a possibility between these two women. Then, we see Helen start to make career altering changes by telling her friends, colleagues, and even Rory about her alter writing personality. As Helen becomes braver in revealing her true self, she also finds the courage to seek more out of her relationship with Rory. It is here the chemistry really starts to come to life.

It’s easy to notice Rory has an interest in Helen from their first meeting, but it isn’t until the two meet unexpectedly at a local pub that the groundwork is set for something more. From that point on, we see the evolution of Rory’s feelings develop from admiration, to infatuation, and ultimately desire. Now all Rory has to do is convince Helen to take a chance.

The Writing Style

This story had all the earmarks of a classic Harper Bliss story, and I love that. What I love even more is how she structures it around the essence of coming out.

Helen’s biggest secret is that she writes cozy mystery novels. She believes that in a posh educational setting like Oxford, this type of writing will be frowned upon by her peers. When she finally decides to tell everyone, the reactions are mixed – some are expected, and some are unexpected. In the end, Helen realizes her fears of telling everyone were unfounded, especially when she sees the benefits come to fruition in her evolving relationship with Rory. Now I know that “coming out” about anything isn’t always easy and doesn’t always have a positive response. But it is nice to see Bliss take something as beautiful as writing to show us just how “coming out” can never be wrong.

The Pros

This story has made the list of the top ten best first kisses I have ever read. Oh man, it is everything you want in a first kiss. It’s sensual, it’s unexpected, and it’s so passionate it makes the characters drop things. These are the kinds of kisses I live for because they ignite a desire in Helen and Rory that has you turning pages until the very end.

The Cons

As I mentioned, this story took a little while to get going, but once it did, it took everything I had to put it down and go to bed. Think of it as warming a car up on a cold morning. It may take a little while to get going, but once you do hang on to your butts.

The Conclusion

Bliss’s writing has always left me needing a cold shower afterwards and this one is no exception. You’ll cheer on Helen and Rory, and maybe you’ll get a better idea of just how accepting people can be when you reveal your true self in any capacity. Pick this one up today. I guarantee you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Excerpt from A Lesson In Love by Harper Bliss

“Hello, Professor Swift.” She walks straight towards me, hand outstretched. “I’m Victoria.”

I briefly take her hand in mine, then invite her to sit.

She’s wearing jeans and a turtleneck sweater. Her hair is pulled into a ponytail.

“Right,” she says and looks me straight in the eye, flashing a very wide smile. “I have to admit” – her voice is clear – “I’m a little nervous.”

Her attitude and facial expression contradict her statement. Since her arrival, the energy in my  office has shifted. She’s one of those people who draw the eye – who light up a room. I wouldn’t be caught dead using that cliché in one of my novels.

“No need for that.” She’s making me nervous now. One day, if she does get her doctorate, she’ll make an outstanding lecturer – unlike me, perhaps. With some people, one glance is all it takes to know they’ll excel.

“The way I see it” – she cocks her head – “you’re my only chance at doing this particular kind of in-depth research.”

I arch my eyebrows. I know what Victoria Carlisle wants to research. She emailed me about it in astonishing detail. “I wouldn’t put it in such black and white terms, Miss Carlisle.”

“Well, no doubt you know what I mean.” That wide grin again, accompanied by a wink this time. Goodness, this woman is forward. Like most young people these days, who carry themselves with a familiarity towards faculty that I’ve never quite got used to.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9789887912446
  • Publisher: Ladylit Publishing
  • Harper Bliss Online  

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