Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat

Why I read it: Sarah Maclean’s List “Read More Romance”

Library or Buy? Library, but I’d spend the $4.99 for a kindle edition.

Sex factor: Hot

Mild (sex is described as “they made love”, fewer than 3 scenes)

Racy (specific body parts are mentioned, orgasm is referenced but not in detail, fewer than 5 scenes)

Hot (includes oral sex, detailed description of genitalia and orgasm)

Orgasmic (lots of graphically described sex, probably considered erotica)

Music while you read the review

Heroine, Veronica, is 27 year old Wyoming native and advice columnist. After living in NYC for several years she returns home. Though it is never named she suffers from imposter syndrome and this affects all aspects of her life, particularly her career, romantic relationships and interactions with her father.

Hero, Gabe, is 31 year old New York native and digital librarian (yes, that’s right. A male librarian). Loves rock climbing and has moved to Wyoming for one year to fulfill dream of an outdoors lifestyle. He’s invested in being nice guy and has problems with honesty as a result.

This romance is a winner on several levels. The descriptions of hiking/climbing made me want to find a trail and I’m not the outdoorsy type. The hero is a librarian. Did I mention that? Am I the only one that thinks that is hotter than being a billionaire? Bullying and its consequences are dealt with in respectful way. Hero says I love you first. Most importantly, heroine grows through the novel with hero’s support, not because of him, AND puts herself before the relationship. Amazing! I definitely recommend this romance.

Feminist Romance Novel?

Bechdel-Wallace Test: Two other women are named (and have a book and novella in the series). They are supportive of heroine in her insecurity. While most of their conversations are about men, this is probably one of best examples of female friendship that I’ve read to date.

Character Complexity: Heroine is witty, neurotic, insecure and accomplished—a complex mix that reflects women in real life. Her low self-esteem/imposter syndrome is made manifest in actions/interactions throughout the book and is eventually explained.

Comprehensive: Race isn’t addressed. Secondary characters are diverse but not fully developed human beings. Class isn’t addressed but financial strain is (which is rare in romance). Heroine is millennial who doesn’t make enough money to pay rent and her resulting shame over needing parental support is reflective of the experience of many. Novel addresses bullying and suicide.

Sexual Pleasure: Heroine has difficulty with orgasm and hero is persistent and committed. One of few romances that addresses that few women reach orgasm without oral sex. Also first time I read the phrase “penis based sex” in a romance novel. Love that distinction.

Victoria Dahl's Taking the Heat
Hero is a librarianHeroine puts herself before relationshipHero loves performning oral sexDescriptions of rock climbing
Too much happens in too little time
4.4Overall Score
Bechdel Wallace Test
Character Complexity
Sexual Pleasure
Reader Rating 0 Votes