REVIEW: Teach Me (There’s Something About Marysburg Book 1) by Olivia Dade
Their lesson plans didn’t include love. But that’s about to change…
When Martin Krause arrives at Rose Owens’s high school, she’s determined to remain chilly with her new colleague. Unfriendly? Maybe. Understandable? Yes, since a loathsome administrator gave Rose’s beloved world history classes to Martin, knowing it would hurt her.
But keeping her distance from a man as warm and kind as Martin will prove challenging, even for a stubborn, guarded ice queen. Especially when she begins to see him for what he truly is: a man who’s never been taught his own value. Martin could use a good teacher–and luckily, Rose is the best.
Rose has her own lessons–about trust, about vulnerability, about her past–to learn. And over the course of a single school year, the two of them will find out just how hot it can get when an ice queen melts.
Dear Ms. Dade,
From a series on librarians we go to a series on high school teachers – at least from the “Book 1” designation I assume there will be more books. Brava. Teachers can be sexy too. With each other – let me stress there is no inappropriate sexiness in this book.
Rose Owens is the kind of teacher everyone wants and should have. She’s smart, dedicated, passionate about teaching, and determined that her students will get the best from her. It was a teacher who saw what teen-aged Rose had in her and challenged Rose to take a harder class and discover what she was capable of. That was the first step for Rose that lead to college then a masters degree. She also got a dickwad of a husband for a short time then shed him when she realized that being herself wasn’t good enough for him. Rose knows her self worth now and doesn’t let anyone take it away from her.
What can be taken away are two classes she loves to teach – Honors World History which allow her to gain the trust of students who are like she was at their age – not sure of themselves and probably unwilling to commit to the rigors of an Advanced Placement (AP) class. Those are almost crucial these days for underprivileged students to get a foot on the ladder of higher education and if Rose can’t coax them along, she knows many have lost the chance to reach their full potential.
Rose can’t argue that the teacher – the male teacher – who has been given her classes – hers! – is more than qualified as he also has a masters degree and years of teaching experience. She’ll tuck her anger and hurt away and be a professional. But she doesn’t have to like him.
Only Martin Krause makes it hard not to like him. He’s smart, quiet, obviously a professional and doesn’t splash his credentials around. He’s not a dick like the male chauvinist superintendent who fucked with Rose’s schedule. Martin also has a delightful daughter whom he clearly adores and who appeals to Rose who likes to encourage the best in all students. When Martin sees the way Rose interacts with his daughter Bea, he knows that her Ice Queen persona melts for students. It’s just him she still freezes out. Martin is okay with that as he often tells his daughter that she doesn’t owe it to any man to make that man comfortable in her personal space.
When he discovers what dirty tactic has been played on Rose – and that he was unknowingly used to do it – he realizes what it could mean to her AP class numbers and how devastated she is for the students often written off by administration. It’s his reaction to this and her reaction to watching him teach that begins the thaw. Martin holds his students in the palm of his hand as he gets them to mentally stretch and think, as he listens to and, if correct, validates their viewpoints and introduces them to new ideas. Darn it, he’s hard to dislike.
It’s too bad that as they’re discovering the interesting things about each other, a unwanted interruption by the superintendent dickwad and then their own personal past issues come between a progression of their relationship from professional to more. Can they move past old hurts which have cut deeply and wounded their souls?
I’ve never taught but the details here seem to tally with what I’ve heard about teaching and the politics of school. Every profession has those as well as the people who have somehow ended up in positions of authority and who can fuck with those trying to do their best. I had to laugh at the after school teachers’ meeting boredom being alleviated with “buzzword” bingo games and note passing. If anyone knows about note passing, it’s teachers. And classroom nightmares – teachers have them too!
The subtle ways that Rose’s and Martin’s issues are introduced – and then *not* hammered on about to make sure we don’t forget what those are – is appreciated. As both of them are in a profession that now has to watch carefully to spot abuses or neglect in their students, it makes sense that they would pick up on each other’s “tells.” It’s also refreshing that initially Rose finds Martin just okay looking – not ugly but not devastatingly handsome either. And that Rose tops Martin – at least when she’s in her heels.
How cool is it that Martin conveys his belief that Rose’s story and past matter through a classroom lesson. And that Rose asserts her femininity and personal worth through her wardrobe of uncompromising black which she reverse uses in order to not disappear as society would often like “women of size” to do. Kudos that both are thoughtful about the personal pronoun they use when worrying about the home situation of a student who might be transitioning. Their first sexual encounter is fun with both stating what they like – or what Martin thinks he might like which tells Rose a lot about Martin’s marriage – and it’s this honesty rather than amazing instinctive sexing ability that blows their collective socks off.
Glory be that neither Martin nor Rose want to change the other. They see the invisible armor and the reasons behind it and accept each other. But great sex and understanding are sometimes still not enough and they hold out for what they know they need in a relationship. Rose’s 1990s public response to Martin’s invitation to take their relationship public might be a teensy bit OTT – though she didn’t hold up a boombox like LLoyd Dobler – but it was funny. The finale of the book might also have been a bit feel-good but there’s not much wrong with that. Some days I need feel-good, too. B