Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction
Warnings: Death of a parent (in past), misogyny and anti-sex work comments, religious undertones
Read if you liked: The Roommate
Review: Naomi Grant is a former porn star turned co-founder of a sex-positive start-up and educator. Despite her long list of qualifications (girlfriend is educated), higher education has no interest in hiring her. Ethan Cohen has recently become a rabbi of his own synagogue, which isn’t doing so great. In an effort to get both more funding and congregants, Ethan asks Naomi to teach a Modern Intimacy seminar. They soon find themselves attracted to each other and put their curriculum to the test…but that’s not the only thing that will be tested in this unique relationship.
This was probably one of my most anticipated books of 2021…the Roommate was such a great debut novel and I was excited to see what Rosie Danan came up with again…update: she did not disappoint. I liked this book so much more than the first. The character development was there and I missed that with Clara and Josh…they seemed more interested in other things (which is fine!).
My little Jewish (culturally Jewish) heart was so freaking happy. Naomi is a heroine we needed, truly such a badass. Also, Josh is just the most adorable cinnamon roll (did I use that right?) of a love interest. The religious aspects were also handled nicely, there were some great insights without being overly preachy…the girl who likes Jesus took some nice lessons out of it.
Now, I know at first glance that a former sex-worker dating a rabbi is just all the sirens going off for “forbidden” romance…but y’all it was pretty tame for actual content. There’s plenty of tension, Danan is the queen of tension, but I would say it wasn’t as steamy as you might assume. For context, I did not feel as scandalized as some of the other Friends to Lover’s Challenge (with Bad Bitch Book Club) picks for 2021.
Things I loved: The Jewish representation was there and not just as a religious undertone. Modern intimacy is really something we all need to talk more about. I loved all the characters and slowly getting to know them together and individually. I did enjoy seeing Josh and Clara for some brief scenes, very cute!
Things I didn’t care for: I would have loved more about Ethan’s background and family life; they only touched on the surface but implied a lot more influence. The ending was also a bit rushed for me + I would have liked a bit more.
Overall, go read this book and totally join the discussion on May 6th at 8:00pm EST.