Review: The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh

23rd January 2014

pg1*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Emily Crossley and Robert Drake would never be matched up on eharmony or match.com. Each is passionate about politics and his or her own key issues. Emily works for a nonprofit devoted to ridding the planet of gas-guzzling SUVs. Robert is a businessman whose business it is to market those same SUVs.

When they meet at an anti-SUV rally Emily hosts, sparks fly…but less from lust and more from a sense of righteousness. Robert follows up with a string of emails, and Emily is intrigued, asking him out before she loses her nerve. As Emily and Robert’s arguments grow more and more heated, so does their attraction.

But how do you reconcile an attraction to someone so inappropriate for you on paper? Emily and Robert both struggle with this, yet each is level headed and logical, able to articulate their stances in ways that aren’t offensive to the other. Plus, there’s more to each than politics. Robert loves astronomy. Emily loves to read. At one point, Emily even questions whether she uses her politics as a way to separate herself from others, a moment of brutal honesty. But it is each character’s openness with one another that allows them to fall in love until Robert’s demanding job overwhelms any chance they have of being together.

At first glance, The Drake Equation made me nervous. Not only is it a romance novel, but it’s also a novel involving two characters whose political beliefs are diametrically opposed. To be together, miraculously, neither Robert nor Emily suddenly changes his or her political beliefs. Neither one gives up a career for the other. That’s not to say that Robert and Emily don’t change or compromise, but so often in romance novels, one or the other of the characters in the couple makes a change that makes my skin crawl a bit. Heather Walsh avoids that and creates a cast of intelligent, thoughtful characters without unrealistic obstacles getting in the way of love, making The Drake Equation the perfect romance novel for people who hate romance novels.

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  • Well I like romance novels, so. ๐Ÿ™‚ My parents are actually like this–polar opposites when it comes to politics.

    • Really? Interesting. I was actually wondering how it would work in real life, but as I said to Heather, they really are intelligent, thinking people (as I assume your parents are) who care about one another. So it works.

  • The basic premise here reminds me of You’ve Got Mail. The idea of falling in love with someone who goes against what one believes in (or bases their life on) is so horrible, but I enjoyed the movie anyway. Heh.

    I don’t know if I could fall in love with some one who is a politic opposition. Well, not anymore. I tried it once. Didn’t work out so well.

    • Oh yeah! I used to watch that movie constantly. The only thing I hated is that she really does have to give up what she loves…not to be with him but in a more generic way. It still felt kind of icky, but I really loved them together.

      I know I couldn’t. But part of what I like here is that both Robert and Emily have really good reasons for their positions. They both care. They don’t just spout political party lines, so you can watch them appreciate that in the other. That, I can get on board with. I don’t need to be with someone who agrees with me in every way. That sounds a bit boring.

    • Also, did you ever watch Speechless with Geena Davis and Michael Keaton? I used to LOVE that movie, and it has the same sort of idea.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End

    Sounds like a fun premise! I haven’t read very many contemporary romance novels in my time, so maybe I’ll give this one a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I really enjoyed it. Let me know if you do end up reading it! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Ti Reed

    Sounds a little iffy to me. I am not big on politics in general so having it cushioned between the pages of my book would probably not win me over. But I adore the last line of your review.

    • Believe me, I felt the same way. But I’d also say the politics talked about are *mostly* environmental, steering clear of any truly volatile topics. And thanks! I really think it’s true.

  • Elizabeth

    I picked this one up the other day after reading another review. I haven’t been reading much romance lately, but the premise of two people with such different political beliefs intrigues me. I’m glad to hear that the idea is explored thoughtfully.

    • Definitely is. And I think that’s rare, in general, so I enjoyed it.

  • Hrm. I have a very unsophisticated response to politics (frothing, mostly) so I’m not sure I could handle this. BUT I do like that the heroine doesn’t have to give up herself to be with her love!

    • Hahaha! Me too, believe me. But it was a really refreshing romance.

  • Heather O’Roark

    I do enjoy romance novels from time to time so this one might work for me. The politics thing doesn’t bother me at all, actually!

    • Well go forth and read!