I enjoyed The Drake Equation, a modern romance in which two young professionals from seemingly opposite ends of the political spectrum meet and clash. The story’s lead character, Emily Crossley, is a super-focused and driven earth-conscious liberal, working for the non-profit, GeoForce, whose primary goal is to eliminate all the unsafe, gas guzzling and air-killing SUVs from the road. Along comes Robert Drake, a PR man from Bell Motors. Not willing to accept Robert’s Republican views, Emily feels compelled to argue her point and win over this good-looking conservative.
After a great deal of political and environmental debate which is fueled by their romantic interest, Emily and Robert discover some common ground, and the story goes from there. This is an intelligently written, well-organized romance with easy-to-know characters and a smooth flow of plot. Walsh adds a layer of amusing descriptions and tongue-in-cheek humor and that keeps things moving at a good pace.
Walsh does a great job with the banter between Emily and Robert, particularly as they move away from SUVs and the auto industry and into more interesting discussions. I think she realistically portrays these twenty-somethings and their developing relationship in a classy way which very much seems to reflect conversations between Jane and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, Emily’s favorite book.
Walsh’s characters are nicely portrayed, particularly Robert, my favorite. He has an easy way of tempering Emily’s unusually intense views and it’s fun to watch him win her over. Emily’s character is not quite as nice to know until later, when her vulnerabilities surface. These weaknesses redeem her at the end of the story as Walsh shows the reader Emily’s more human side. Emily’s co-workers, Carson, Rachel and Andy add another layer of interest and a few sub-plots and that keeps the story moving.
I particularly like Walsh’s style of introducing an unexplained fact, letting it dangle for a few paragraphs and then cycling back to explain. It’s just enough of a tease, without frustrating the reader, a nice technique.
All in all, this is a light and amusing read. Some readers may be frustrated by the abundance of talk about eco-friendly solutions to the large and environmentally hazardous SUVs on the road, particularly in the beginning. But the nice surprise is that these conversations lessen as the romance blossoms and we see the real people behind the arguments.
The Drake Equation is Heather Walsh’s second book. Be sure to check out her first book, Dented Cans.
And click here for an interview with Heather Walsh.
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