Love, In English by Karina Halle
He speaks Spanish.
I speak English.
He lives in Spain.
I live in Canada.
He dresses in thousand-dollar suits.
I’m covered in tattoos.
He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.
I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.
Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the fucking truth.
To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.
Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.
Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.Something that can never, ever be.
Or so she thinks.
Kelly- 4.5 Crowns
“He was a respected athlete and business owner. And I was a twenty-three year old astronomy brat with tats and an old movie star’s name.” - Vera
Love, In English is a powerful story of a complicated love told in the most honest of fashion. A story of how two people from completely different worlds find friendship at an isolated Spanish retreat, and connect on a level that is quite simply, out of this world.
Vera Miles is a sassy, smart, pretty Canadian astronomy major and a free-spirit. She isn’t afraid of self-expression and wears her skin like a canvas. Her love of the Universe is depicted clearly by the way the constellations are inked across her skin. The idea there is something bigger out there, something more appeals to the girl who is regarded as the ‘black sheep’ of the family.
With college out for the summer, Vera decides to spend a month travelling. As she leaves Canada, her stop in London is brief as she embarks on her real adventure to Spain. She’s managed to get a summer job at Las Palabras helping native Spaniards improve their ‘conversational’ English skills. It’s an all-expenses paid trip so a no-brainer for the young woman who just wants to get away from all the ‘family drama’ back home.
Mateo Casalles is an ex-footballer and a national hero. After suffering a terrible knee injury a few years prior, Mateo left the field and embarked on a new venture in the restaurant business. He is well groomed, wealthy and… married.
Vera and Mateo find they have almost nothing in common, and yet at the same time, both find a familiarity in each-other. Conversation is easy and soon a friendship in the resort starts to form. In-fact many bonds start to grow between the forty Anglo and Spaniard residents, and soon education plays second fiddle to a few heavy nights partying, that give birth to new romances and solid friendships… just one big happy family.
Friendship and familiarity is easy but it’s not long before thoughts of the forbidden kind start to filter through Vera’s mind. She may be a villain in her own story. The harlot. The slut. But love, when it strikes, can hit you hard especially when you never wanted or asked for it. But sometimes, like the stars that blanket the night sky, certain things are just too hard to ignore…
Vera and Mateo’s story was complicated and complex, but beautiful nonetheless. Some of you will not agree, many will say infidelity is unforgivable and should never be condoned, not even in fiction but the case with this story is it didn’t read like fiction at all… this was a story of real-life. And real-life is hard. Karina Halle has expressed in honest detail the woes and the struggle of trying to hide escalating feelings, knowing that your love, however strong, however deep, would be destined to fail from the start.
Love isn’t a choice but choosing on how we act upon it, is. Vera and Mateo chose to act upon it but it doesn’t come without its consequences…
Love, In English is a story told in three parts with some wonderful secondary characters who all play a pivotal role, even the minor ones. It had almost a secret retreat ‘desert island’ feel about it as these strangers, hailing from different walks of life are thrown together and make the best of the time they have castaway from the real-world.
But what happens when the real-world comes back into play?
Putting your love in a box and leaving it behind at a private retreat is one thing, but what happens when you can’t let go?
Going back home to the mundane day-to-day living, with it’s own set of ongoing dramas is bad enough, but when you find that your only true home is back in the arms of the one you cannot have can make for some rash and crazy decision making.
However you say it, Love means the same thing for us all and in this case: Love, in English is… you.
“I love you because you are you. You’re a little bit crazy, and I find that more interesting than being normal. You’re passionate and I find that more fascinating than being calm. You’re curious and adventurous and sexual, and you’re full of life and you make me want to be a better man, to live louder, to bend and break all the damn rules.” Mateo
A beautiful, heartwarming, and at times, gut-wrenching story of forbidden Love and the difficulties that come with it. To overcome those obstacles is to fight even though it can still mean losing, but it’s the one thing still worth fighting for…