After someone suggested Carolina Hurricane to me on a romance thread, I had to try this story out. I am a die-hard fan of the older man/younger woman theme, but the author also adds another taboo I enjoy, that of professor falling for his student.
Just as the blurb explains, Jordan is a lonely man, still somewhat bitter and angry with how his marriage ended. After ten years of marriage to the woman he thought he'd spend the rest of his life with, he finds himself alone at 43. He fills his time with a job he loves, a cat he fought for in the divorce (tells ex the cat is the only one who showed him any kind of love at all), and working on renovating his old, neglected plantation house.
And for me, the house served as a symbol for Jordan himself. Both the house and Jordan need love and care, both waiting for someone to recognize the value of something old but steadfast and lasting. With just a little TLC and work, both can be complete and made whole again. With the love of the right person, something (or someone) that has seen better days can feel new and alive again.
It is here in this house that Jordan and Amanda are forced to spend time together, in the dark created by the hurricane raging outside. This forced closeness creates an uncomfortable and fragile intimacy that soon develops into a new but forbidden love. I really love when two characters are forced together, when secret feelings have no choice but to be revealed. Under these unusual and informal circumstances, everything about Amanda is so much more noticeable to Jordan, her youth, her hopefulness, her goodness, and even her wisdom. Despite his initial resistance, Jordan now sees Amanda not as a student but very much as a woman.
Jordan and Amanda really don't struggle with the age difference (he's 43 and she's 21), although he does realize he is old enough to be her father. The main conflict for them is how to stay together given his position at the university and the complaints his angry, jealous ex-wife makes to the Dean. Because of university rules and policy, Jordan cannot have an ongoing relationship with a student. Jordan must choose between keeping his faculty job or keeping his relationship with Amanda.
This is a sweet, gentle romance, definitely not as erotic or sexy as I generally like my romances to be (no sex at all in the story), but it did give me two of my favorite themes together. I do wish there had been a bit more exploration of the forbidden aspect to their love and maybe more sexual tension. Regardless of that, I did enjoy this little story, which turned out to be a tribute to finding the love that you want and need, however wrong it may look to others, and fighting for it because in your heart you know it to be right.
This book was a very good May/December romance but it needed more spicy romantic scenes. It was quite lackluster in that area. The story had many opportunities to include sensual scenes between the two lovers but it didn't take advantage and was quite dull. It left me wanting more and in my opinion really hurt the story.