Book review: C.P. Santi’s “Dare To Love”

Oh Mylanta, it’s been six months since I last put up anything on this here blog. So many things happened — a new job, even more #romanceclass events that I love going to  ut can’t seem to write about, and the daily struggle of trying to finish something creative.

Lost in all of that was my plan to post a review of C.P. Santi’s Dare to Love. I was given an ARC of this and even had time set aside to blog about it, but life and responsibilities piled up and now here we are, posting about it five months after I finished reading it.

When I was asked to review this new book by C.P. Santi, I didn’t hesitate at all as i enjoyed her work in  Maybe This TimeAs I’ve never read a full-length work from her, I wanted to know what she would be able to do beyond the restrictions of a short story.

Dare To Love tells the story of Gia, a thirtysomething single mother of two who’s quite happy with how her life is going so far. However, things get complicated when Alex enters her life.

On the surface, the tattooed anthropologist is everything she should be avoiding. But as the months progress and Alex upends all of Gia’s notions about him, she might just let herself dare to love after all.

In Dare To Love, C.P. builds on the things that I loved in Maybe This Time. One of the strengths of that collection was the strong sense of place that she evoked in the story “sweeter By The Second”, and she brings that local color again to this book. We get a strong sense of what it’s like in San Pablo and Los Banos, the two places where most of the book happens.

The characters are all in their thirties, with only a slight detour to Gia’s younger years, and just like in Maybe This Time this proves to be a great choice. It’s representation we’re not seeing at the moment, and it makes the work automatically refreshing as it’s a point of view I don’t always get to read about. I really enjoyed reading about Gia’s concerns when it comes to relationships, especially since they are different from a teenager or a twentysomething.

Just like in Meant To Be, the secondary characters in Dare To Love are memorable and fun. I definitely appreciated Andy, Gia’s token GBF. While he does play the supportive friend, he at least had a relationship going on in the background, which is more than you usually get with gay supporting characters. That’s the bare minimum we ask guys — show us as full people whose loves don’t just revolve around the main character.

If there’s one thing that distracted me and prevented me from fully immersing, it was something completely unexpected and out of left field, even for me. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into Alex calling Gia “angel”. But I can’t explain why it bugged me so muchApparently I have issues.

Other than that, I had good time reading Dare To Love. It’s another win from C.P. Santi, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

 

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