Romance novels aren’t supposed to make us sad. But sometimes they do and Saving Suzy by Stefanie Simpson did so very much. There was a point where I had to put the book down for a couple of days because the emotions got too much and I needed a breather.
That’s not to say this piece of erotic kink literature was particularly heavy, because although it deals with heavy themes, this isn’t a sadface book. It was just genuine. Down-to-earth moments captured by the author’s serious and sensual writing voice, the voice that gives the entire New City Series its quietly brilliant tone.
But back to what made me sad. I thought Victoria Undone was the Simpson romance for me, but Saving Suzy gripped me by the heart and squeezed very tightly.
If I had to sum up why, it would be the utter lack of toxicity between the MCs. There’s uncertainty, there’s curiosity, there’s a definite attraction… but zero toxicity. They handle each other with the utmost respect, even when things get difficult.
It mades me think of real life, and how the world can be a ugly place full of sharp teeth and stone hearts. How so many people IRL can turn nasty on a dime, flee at the first sign of trouble, lie for selfish reasons, and lash out at beautiful things.
The antagonist in this book is the ugliness of the world. And in the relationship that develops between Suzy and Nathan, we find the eye of the storm. Tumultuous in its own way yes—after all, romantic conflict is what makes a good novel—but ultimately the one piece of paradise that restores your soul while everything else takes bites out of you.
Stefanie Simpson has a new book coming out later this month. Lay Me Down in Ivy is currently available for preorder.