Loveswept, $2.79, ISBN 0-553-44187-6
Contemporary Romance, 1992
Hmm, it is not every day that I come across a contemporary romance novel set in a space. Ever Since Adam is a simple, straightforward story of what happens when psychologist Maggie Mullins joins Commander Adam Strade, NASA’s hotshot astronaut, for a six week program in Space Station McAuliffe. Adam suspects that Maggie is actually snooping around on him under orders from her superior (not that he’s crazy or anything), but does that stop him from falling in love with her? No. Men are such predictable creatures.
This one makes me wonder why so few contemporary romances are set in space, because Ms Lawrence uses the setting to create an intimate environment where it is as if Adam and Maggie are indeed the only two persons in their private world (a few unobtrusive colleagues barely register). This story focuses entirely on the developing relationship between Adam and Maggie, which means that, no alien attacks aside, there is plenty of heart-to-heart chat as well as sexual lusting.
On the surface, Maggie and Adam seem like “will never love again” stereotypes. Yes, he’s been hurt before. She’s been hurt before too and she has never had a decent sexual encounter. But what I really like is the fact that while these two people may have lousy love lives in the past, they are also quite normal about that. They don’t have irrational “I will hate the opposite sex forever” attitudes, in fact, they are quite open about talking and listening to each other. Maggie isn’t looking for love, but she has a few relationships in the past instead of letting one bad relationship sour her perspective permanently on dating. Adam isn’t some oversexed playboy – in fact, he hasn’t had any in a year since he’s either in space or in training. Therefore, the both of them aren’t stereotypes of the Oversexed Tomcat or Frigid Miss Neurotic – they are, rather, very enjoyably normal.
These two engage in plenty of small talk, sometimes about their feelings, sometimes about other little things, but Ms Lawrence doesn’t allow the pace to drag. Instead, I enjoy the manner at which the author shows the evolution of her characters’ emotions. Also as enjoyable is the way Ms Lawrence describes what life in space can be like. The whole gravity-free thing aside, there are also interesting tidbits such as the workouts they do to prevent bone loss in space. I don’t know if any of the details are authentic, but they all come together to create an intimate and unusual setting for love to bloom. The sex though is quite mundane – it happens on a hammock instead of in some zero-gravity environment like I’m half-hoping to read. Oh well, I knew I shouldn’t have believed the silly cover art.
Space and the contemporary romance don’t seem like they can go together, but Ever Since Adam pooh-poohs that notion with style. It’s romantic, it’s interesting, and it’s probably going really cheap in some UBS out there so I don’t think you have much to lose in giving this book a look if you ever come across it.