My favorite thing about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that it begins with the end; after all, what is interesting about the play is not what happens (everyone knows they off themselves in Big Dramatic Fashion) but how they get there. The Space Between Us begins with a short scene from the near the end of the story and introduces a sense of impending doom. When the story restarts (at the beginning this time), the reader knows (or thinks she knows) how it’s going to end, but the reader is constantly on tenterhooks, wondering what really happens and how it all devolves.
Everyone has a story…
Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeinestarved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomlesscup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar’s clientele.
Caught in Meredith’s sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren’s attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith’s husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it’s all in fun, isn’t it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They’re three against the world.
But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….
This book reminded me of Shakespeare, of course, but it also had hints of the classic Greek tragedies (I’m thinking Sophocles and his use of grand human emotions and catharsis). I loved the way it was written, how it unfolds through a series of narratives that each stress the often intangible emotions that fill the space between the people involved. I loved every character except Meredith (with whom I could not connect on any level), from the random folk who frequent the coffee shop–likely to be main or side characters in other Hart novels–to Tesla and Charlie.
My favorite bit was the quasi family life shared by Tesla, her bother Cap, and Vic and his family. Even though the strings that tied all these people together were not ones that I have ever encountered in my life, their family bond is approachable, and, like in any family, the shit they do to each other is heartrending and real. I never really paid attention to kids in books before I had kids of my own, but now it’s usually the first thing I notice. The kids in this book are so realistically portrayed with their innocent expectation of all of the love in the world and their wounded reserve in response to life’s disappointments.
The content is decidedly adult, with plenty of fun words bandied about for girl and boy parts and plenty of interesting menage acrobatics. I could have survived without quite so much erotic content, but that’s a personal preference issue. A lot of the erotic situations are told in narrative format that develops the theme. It may seem at first as if there is no point in the particular story being told, but, trust me, it all comes together.
This book takes you on an emotional journey, and, although the end is totally worth it, it will drag your heart through burning coals along the way. If you are looking for a fantasy story that makes you feel warm and fuzzy about humanity, this book is not for you. But if you want to step outside your comfort zone and learn something about yourself, I highly recommend you pick this one up, especially if you’re a fan of Adam Ant.
The Space Between Us will be released as a trade paperback on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Harlequin MIRA, but the e-book may already be available. Although all of Megan Hart’s novels exist as stand-alone stories, it may be advisable to read them in order. Please visit Hart’s website for more information on her other books and a suggested reading order. You can also click on the cover image above (or right here) to visit the book’s Goodreads page.
*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*