AUTHOR: E.K. Blair
GENRE: Romance (Student/Teacher)
Available @ AMAZON
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
But it did.
This wasn’t supposed to be my life.
But it was.
I was just a typical girl, living a typical life. Nothing was out of the ordinary until tragedy threw me into a turnstile I couldn’t see my way out of. That was, until him.
I never could’ve imagined my heart falling the way it did. Hard, fast, and with unbounding beauty.
The only problem?
He was off limits.
But he became my everything, and I became his, so we risked it all. It was only a matter of time until I realized that our risk came with unimaginable consequences.
My name is Camellia Hale and his is David Andrews, and this is our love story.
In her latest novel, E.K. Blair pulls readers into an unfolding relationship between a seventeen-year old high school senior and her thirty-one-year old swim coach/English Lit. teacher.
“This is us – victims of love.”
Nothing is more intriguing in a story than when things get truly complicated and exploring taboos can turn an otherwise run-of-the-mill story into something much more titillating. Mixing loss, grief and loneliness with a scandalous student-teacher relationship — one that holds longing and an unexpected and instant connection, Blair wields an expertly written story of devastation for two lost souls. She remarkably weaves together an honest and poignant exploration of a controversial subject matter with extraordinary sensitivity, creating a deeply human and honest love story.
Camellia (Cam) Hale broke my heart over and over. In an instant, she goes from being a popular, smart and talented swimmer to being completely shredded. Instead of the mature-for-her-age character often found in teacher-student tropes, she is age appropriate emotionally and mentally and reacts like what one would expect for a girl her age which only saddened the situation even more. At times it was sheer agony watching her downward spiral.
With a past that haunts him every day, Coach David Andrews is hoping a new job will kick-start a fresh beginning in his life. As you would probably assume, he’s attractive with the body of an athlete, the kind of guy that makes all the high school girls go gah-gah over. But underneath the exterior, he’s also a really good guy with a tender and caring heart, even though he makes some really bad decisions crossing the line between professional and personal.
The one character that you would expect to be a safe haven for Cam was MIA. Mother Hale is a pathetic and horrendous absentee mom, and I was sickened by her self-absorbed actions — especially the neglect of her daughter. At a time when both required comfort and love, good old mom jumped ship and turned to alcohol and hookups with strangers leaving Cam to her own devices.
Secondary characters were faced with an enormous task of remaining supportive, true and loyal friends. Cam’s childhood friend and ex-boyfriend has the most difficulty cutting ties. His reactions to losing his best friend and the girl he still loves, made me ache for him, too. Kroy (not a name I would have chosen for this character or anyone else) had his heart broken yet still remained in Cam’s corner until he just couldn’t bear it any longer. Believe me, Cam didn’t make it easy on him either. The girl could be brutal at times. To be honest, I would have walked away long before broken-hearted Kroy did. And Linze, Cam’s best friend deserted the playhouse on a day-to-day basis, but eventually returned to stand by Cam’s side through the worst times, even though the friendship was well tarnished. Of course, it wouldn’t be high school if the mean girls didn’t come out to play and play they did. Downright bloody and dirty mayhem played out in technicolor.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the smutty tendencies missing and replaced with a heart-wrenching and honest portrayal of two people drawn to one another with intensity and power. So much more is involved than just the average naughty forbidden scandalous romp between teacher and student. And as senior year progresses, their relationship deepens and the challenges of keeping it hidden become more difficult. As hard as David tries to resist, he knows that he and Cam are slipping into murky waters that holds incalculable risks for both. This author grabs hold and turns the familiar into something with much more heart than you’d imagine possible. I knew it would happen — and, of course, people started to connect the dots and rumors ran rampant as the two took dangerous chances for stolen moments together. When the truth comes to light, lives and futures are altered severely.
Yes, the sex is passionate and heat-filled as this couple trudges through dangerous territory that has the potential of ruining both of their futures. This one had all the emotions running the spectrum from one end to the other keeping this reader an emotional wreck. David didn’t push or rush Cam in any way. He was gentle with her. If anyone pushed, it was Cam. I felt like she used David as a security blanket, and he was more than willing to wrap her in his arms. Like I mentioned above, he made some unwise and dangerous choices.
The story, which spans a five-year period, is told in Cam’s first-person point of view, except for the closing chapter that is from David’s voice. Here, I am going to remain vague to safely steer clear of spoilers. I wish I could applaud the Epilogue, but it just wasn’t up-to-par enough to satisfy my need to know. It’s one of those happy for now situations that make me crazy.
Secret Lucidity is probably one of the best written student-teacher books that I’ve read — proving once again that exceptional writing skills and love can conquer most any obstacle placed in its path. This one is guaranteed to hold your interest. The only squeamish factor for me is the age difference of fourteen years, along with the fact that Cam is a virgin. I just can’t seem to get past it. If both characters had been a little older and safely planted into adulthood, I might have found it easier to accept. Of course, that rips the student-teacher trope all to pieces.
Recommended for any reader who enjoys a deeply angst-filled storyline, where the drama-llama isn’t allowed to make melodramatic mush out of it by tromping all over the main events so important to the telling of real life issues.