Title: A Class Act
Author Name & Publisher: T.L. Hayes (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 1, 2016 – 240 pgs
Twenty-five-year-old theater grad student Rory Morgan walks into her Intro to Theater class expecting it to be a piece of cake. She isn’t prepared for the diminutive little fireball of a professor who walks in. She is instantly captivated by Dr. Margaret Parks, her forty-year-old professor, and even works up the courage to flirt a little, which Dr. Parks quickly dismisses. After their first class, Rory finds herself thinking about the professor more and more and spends most of her class time watching the professor as she passionately does her job. Rory really wants to ask her out, but she doesn’t know if the professor is even gay, to say nothing of the fact that she’s her professor. What follows is a romance full of humor, passionate awakenings, and college politics. Can they overcome the hurdles that lie before them and still be a class act?
What a beautiful, romantic and heart-warming love story! I really enjoyed being an onlooker in this well written and totally engrossing new relationship between Maggie and Rory. Rory was just so gorgeous and kind and brought out a side of Maggie that had been kept hidden her whole life. She allowed her to be herself at last, to be happy and content with who she was. It seemed each of them were waiting for that person to make them feel whole. They had enormous problems to overcome as professor and student dating and the threat to Maggie’s career was always there in the background. How they both dealt with it and the reactions of those around them made this a powerful novel. I hope to read a lot more from T L Hayes in the future.
Truthfully, I don’t know how to rate this. I enjoyed the book; it turned out in some ways much better than I thought it would at about a third of the way through. But in other ways, there are some things that just missed the mark. This is a May-December book, an age gap book for those who don’t use months (I had to explain the term to someone recently). Rory is a grad student, aged 25, who falls for her professor, Maggie, aged 40. One of my first problems was Miranda’s character. I do like the direction Hayes took it, but at first Miranda seemed like a cliched, contrived character – the mean girl who ruins things for others out of spite and because she’s not getting what she wants. And my opinion of the book would have gone south if Hayes had continued with that as the main conflict. But after Miranda stopped being the main impediment to the relationship, and actually the main catalyst as well, the story coasts with no major conflict the rest of the way. Hayes lost the opportunity to use the age gap and Maggie’s feelings about it to explore the biggest stumbling block to their relationship. As the May in an age gap relationship myself, let me tell you those feelings don’t go away easily for the December portion. There was no real problem with Rory’s parents accepting the relationship, which again I think is a lost opportunity. The problem with Maggie’s coworkers also feels a bit underdone. Maggie is supposed to feel extremely uncomfortable with how much they’re intruding into her private life, but other than a note, an email, and the knowledge that they’re going to the board, and subsequently getting shut down, there isn’t a whole lot there that makes me believe the whole change of jobs would be necessary. In all, the book was entertaining, and the romance was sweet, but missed being as deep as it could have been.
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T.L. Hayes is just your typical over-educated, under-employed dyke who, thanks to an understanding spouse, gets to stay home and write her little stories. She has held many jobs, including customer service agent, housekeeper, and poll-taker. None of them has been as satisfying as writing, especially writing stories with predominately gay characters. She holds master’s degrees in English and educational studies, and an incredible amount of student loan debt. An Illinois transplant, she currently resides in Oklahoma with her transgender husband, Jaykob.
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