Last week, I had the wonderful fortune to get an advanced copy of Fierro’s fantastic debut novel, Love Starved.
What I loved most about this book: it took me by surprise over and over. Is there anything more entertaining than a book that transports you, that takes turns you weren’t expecting and keeps you turning the pages because you just have to know?
Love Starved is a story about Micah Geller, 27, a man who works in information security and lives an independent, successful, and slightly lonely life in Minneapolis. While he tells himself he isn’t lonely, and that he doesn’t need love, Fierro does an excellent job showing us that he is and does with restraint that makes us feel it. Early in the book, his friend Daphne challenges his assertions that he doesn’t need love or physical connection and gives him the name of a personal escort who specializes in creating custom fantasy scenarios for his clients.
The initial premise of the book — that Micah ends up asking Angel for one night to show him what it feels like to be loved — compelled me. This is the place where the book begins to step away from a common trope we’d be expecting in a romance about a lonely man calling an escort. How on earth was Angel going to pull this off?
I don’t want to give away the plot of the book, but I will say that this was the first of several turns the book took that elevated it from any expectations I had. I literally couldn’t put the book down — whenever I thought I could (mainly because my kids wanted to play or I had to make dinner) — I got sucked back in by a twist I didn’t see coming. It takes a great writer to pull this off effectively, while maintaining a believable chemistry and unfolding a relationship (or potential relationship).
There are many things I could praise Fierro for, but one in particular I wanted to single out: the way she handled Micah’s romantic history. It is incredibly hard to write about someone who has been burned by love without making it too cliched, too saccharine, or too expected. From the start I thought Micah’s heartbreak was going to be a story of a lost lover and longing for him. But it very much wasn’t. And what’s better, Fierro doesn’t just tell us what happened: she shows us slowly and organically. She doesn’t explicitly tell us that it Micah was emotionally manipulated or that he spent two years learning to believe that what he got — not much — was what love was, and what’s more painful, that that was the most love he could expect or deserved. Through this story, we get the privilege of watching Micah unpack this past in a natural progression that very much honors the real life work that is healing from an emotionally manipulative and painful relationship. Watching Micah learn just how much he’s worth and what love between two people can be — not just something he deserves, but something he has to give — felt like an honor.
This book is the perfect romantic read: well written, a plot that keeps you hooked, with a love story you can’t help but root for.
Also, high praise for her cover artist, who captured beautifully one of the highlights and themes of the book with her depiction of starlight behind the characters.
Love Starved is available for pre-order at the Interlude Press store, and will be released on April 21st. Order now and you’ll get the eBook bundle free with the purchase of the print book. For a chance to win a free copy of the book, enter giveaways here.
You can find Kate Fierro at Katefierro.com as well as @kate_fierro on twitter (which I recommend following, if only for her awesome daily plot bunny tweets!)