Cover Image: Meet Me in Madrid

Meet Me in Madrid

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Member Reviews

This one ended up not working for me, but I think other readers might enjoy this book. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review Meet Me in Madrid.
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Unfortunately, I could not finish this book. I really liked the main character but I could not get hooked on the story. I will still recommend to those looking for sapphic romance.
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This was really slow to start. I'm not sure what it was but it took a second for me to really get into, but once I did boy was I hooked. Such a wonderful whirlwind romance that had me swooning.
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Give me the romances that take me around the world - loved it! Atmospheric, fun and sexy. I couldn't get enough.
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This book was just so good! I really loved it so much. I can't wait to continue recommending this book. Thank you for letting me read and review this book.
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I rarely ever give up on a book, but the writing quality of this one is so bad. It reads like very basic, first or second time trying to write fan fiction. No consistency in physical locations, clothing being worn, or time passing. I couldn’t go on.
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While I was intrigued by the plot of Meet me in Madrid and am always here for a sapphic book, I found it to be a bit lacking. 

I loved how diverse the cast was but had trouble differentiating the voices and personalities of some of the characters. Especially between the two leads, it was honestly hard to tell whose section I was reading at some points. 

I had some issues with the storytelling elements and choices in general throughout the book. Such as there being just one random Esther chapter for no reason, as well as characters never mentioned before suddenly exist and are a source of conflict even though they were apparently existent the whole time but barely mentioned? 

The plot itself didn’t really move at all for the entire book. Barely anything happens and I had a very hard time focusing. The most exciting parts of this book were the sex scenes, which were very good, but otherwise this was a very bland read that I had to force myself to finish.
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Trigger Warnings: Alcohol, sex, racism, mention of cancer in side character, coming out, past death of a parent, cheating, homophobia, drugs, suicide, cursing

Representation: Queer, Lesbian, POC, Bisexual, Jewish, Gay

Meet Me in Madrid is the story of Charlotte and Adrianna who must balance their romance and careers across continents. Charlotte, a museum courier, travels for work while she tries to become a professor, her dream job. Adrianna, an art historian, lives in Madrid while she does research. The two start a long distance relationship until their careers threaten their love.

I absolutely loved this book! The story is great and I couldn’t put it down! I loved reading about adult women in a relationship and thriving in their fields! I loved reading about adults and their continued struggles with their professions. I also really enjoyed learning about life and professionalism through a POC lense. 

Overall I felt the story had great pacing and fully developed characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the instalust but also the chemistry that the main characters had. My only wish is that the scene with James and the boss was expanded more, it felt very rushed. I would’ve love to seen more of that because I felt it was more important than the book makes it seem.
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I wanted to love this book, but it lacked chemistry (there was sex, but no chemistry) and it was very slow, as far as pacing..

All the elements were there but it just didn't work for me.
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When Dr. Charlotte Hilaire finished her graduate program with honors, she never thought that three years on she’d be stuck as an assistant curator who spends most of her time couriering artwork instead of teaching at a liberal arts institution. However, when she finds herself stranded in Madrid where the illustrious Dr. Adrianna Coates is currently residing, Charlotte can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with her brilliant former crush. Adrianna was an intimidating inspiration as Charlotte’s dissertation advisor at Yale; now that Adrianna is teaching at UCLA and with a prestigious sabbatical fellowship to finish her book, Charlotte feels even less like her peer.

Yet, as accomplished, elegant, and daunting as Adrianna is, the instant connection and passion she and Charlotte share quickly crosses any perceived divide between them and, after three intense days, both women are determined to build upon their brief time together. Unfortunately, working in different countries isn’t the only obstacle to transitioning from white-hot fling to enduring romance. When their separate career ambitions place their fledgling relationship in jeopardy, Adrianna and Charlotte must reexamine what they value most.

Meet Me in Madrid is billed as a “sexy, sophisticated romantic comedy,” but I’m hard-pressed to figure out how (unless lots of sex automatically equals sexy) because there is no comedy—romantic, comedy of errors, or otherwise. I suppose sophisticated fits as both women are urbane, educated, and slightly snobbish in their dress, mannerisms, and entertainment pursuits. It’s just difficult to align the instalove with sophistication as presented here. Charlotte supposedly goes from contentedly single to barely able to get up in the mornings once home, and after only a week of being together, when Adrianna mentions extending her sabbatical, Charlotte spirals into despair and assumptions that Adrianna doesn’t care about her. Charlotte’s emotions become so intense that she gets sick to her stomach and panics at the thought of not seeing Adrianna or a missed text (among other things). Her angsting only ratchets higher and twists her up more throughout the story, as apparently discussing feelings with one another isn’t the done thing for these two sophisticates.

It also doesn’t help that most of the page time allotted to the MCs as a couple is them having sex/sexting/Sex Timing. They rarely have conversations about their relationship status, their feelings (besides being horny), etc. Instead, Adrianna occasionally muses reflectively and compares her feelings for Charlotte to her previous experiences, while Charlotte obsesses about it in her inner monologues—A LOT. Her street cred as an Independent Woman™ is also a bit hard to swallow as Charlotte admits that both of the achievements she’s made in her career are inspired by her desire for Adrianna. She credits wanting to impress Adrianna as the reason her dissertation earned honors and being near Adrianna as why she puts everything into her interview. Mind you, most of Charlotte’s insecurity in herself stems from not obtaining a professorship and a) the job is basically everything she wants, b) openings are few and far between, and c) no one is beating down her door with offers. There is no reason she shouldn’t give her best in the interview regardless of Adrianna being in the picture; thus, Charlotte doesn’t come across as a determined, sophisticated thirty-something, but as kind of whiny and driven more by her libido than self-motivation, especially compared to Adrianna.

Frankly, I just didn’t believe in the viability of or care about their HEA. The entire relationship takes place over the course of a few months and a few in person meetings comprised of a handful of days after a month or so of separation. I know that the running joke is that lesbians meet one day and move in the next, but I just didn’t buy the depth of feelings beyond intense sexual chemistry and basic compatibility. There is no real connection building with one another to support their coupledom; Charlotte and Adrianna spend more time talking to Adrianna’s friend Esther about their relationship than with one another. To me, this imbalance is partially due to the uneven prose that is a bit awkward in its construction—from unnecessary and/or redundant descriptors to sentence fragments that end mid-thought. The transitions can be abrupt, the dialogue is clunky (especially conversations the MCs have about being BIPOC women in a world dominated by cis-het white men), and the pacing is hampered by concocted drama. There’s also an introduction of an “awkward quasi-flirtation” and relationship that feels shoved in. It seemed like a poorly done intro for a book for another character, but no, it’s just there. Maybe it’s supposed to illustrate that even rich, white women presented as entitled, conniving, and mean can be targets of harassment (as if that needs to be stated) and promote female solidarity against the patriarchy that forces them to see one another as competitors, but as written, its inclusion seems unnecessary and forced.

Additionally, as important as being racialized women of color is to Adrianna and Charlotte, their experiences, and the obstacles to their career achievements, the story mostly addresses it as anecdotal asides and commiserations the MCs make to one another. There is one plot relevant episode that is handled well and written in such a way that even the character involved knows its impact will be profound. Yet, the aftermath is handled with such a lazy deus ex machina that it trivializes the issues the MCs discuss. While I like that the characters are academics and the snippets of Adrianna’s research, there is little else for me to enjoy in Meet Me in Madrid. However, for those interested in insta-love, the woes of long-distance relationships, and lots of sexy times (with a few instances of dreadful dirty talk), there may be more here for you.
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I found this book pretty well grounded in real life, but also had some sexy moments that kept me entertained enough to finish it out. Both MC's were women of Color, which I thought was wonderful, and they both seemed to know who they were. This book was more about managing career goals and a long distance relationship, rather than "finding yourself" or getting over a bad relationship. 

There was a bit of an age gap between the two characters, but it didn't really play into the story at all. They also obviously have a history back from college, but they didn't interact as much as that description implies. They were more like acquaintances. 

I did find the pacing to be a bit slow at times. Particularly because they spend a lot of time apart, so it lagged for me in those chapters. 

Overall, it was between 3.5-4 stars for me.
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This honestly wasn't my favorite, even though I was extremely excited for this book based on the premise. After The Love Hypothesis, I was excited for another story set in academia, and I'm always looking for good wIw love stories, so this had seemed like the perfect story for me. But, from the setup to the writing to the characters, there wasn't really anything about this story that grasped my attention and held it. Charlotte and Adrianna fall into things a little too quickly, and then they're long distance for a long time, and there just wasn't a lot of interesting events happening. I wanted to get on board with the discussions on race in academia, but even those didn't quite hold me.
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DEBUT A courier for an art museum, Charlotte Hilaire is stuck in Madrid thanks to a blizzard, and she risks contacting her secret crush from Yale graduate school, who happens to be on sabbatical there. Art historian Adrianna Coates offers Charlotte her guest bedroom to wait out the storm. The two quickly move from catching up on the past several years to having a brief but intense affair before Charlotte heads back to New Haven. Both Charlotte and Adrianna know they have found their match, but can they make their relationship work at such a great distance?

VERDICT Debut author Lowell doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties that Charlotte and Adrianna, who are both Black queer women, encounter in their professional and personal lives, making this a mature, honest, and erotic romance that will have readers admiring what these two smart and determined women accomplish.
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There was so much I wanted to love about this book.
Women in STEM?
YES
Women in love?
YES
POC Representation?
HECK YES
But then it just fell so flat.
It was boring and it drug on.
Would I still recommend this book?
Yes.
BUT I would recommend it to people who enjoy the more 'old fashioned' writing and storytelling.
Sure this story isn't written in the lyrical way of Jane Austen, but I feel as though those who are a fan of hers will find this story to pique their interests. It's slow, detailed, and perfect for those who are into the boring of every relationship.
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My star rating only reflects the first 25% of the book as I DNF. The premise and characters seemed really interesting, however, I just couldn't get into the book. They didn't have any chemistry and fell into a lusty relationship within 5 minutes of being reacquainted. I felt their past was brushed over and not fully dove into so they didn't seem to actually know each other very well. Maybe someone else out there might enjoy this book, but it isn't for me.
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I enjoyed this novel and look forward to new offerings by this author. It is difficult to carry a romance where the characters are in different cities for so much of the book and the author does a good job with this, although I would have much preferred seeing them on page together more often.
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Thank you to @harlequinbooks for sending me an e-ARC of Meet me in Madrid, OUT NOW 🥰😍
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oh my bleeping goodness. I am obsessed with this book. December 1st when my November buying ban is finished I’m going out and getting this book in physical form 😍
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i really really loved this book. I felt as though you were really connected to both of the main characters. I’m not much of an art or museum person but I still found this book so interesting. Both lead characters are BIPOC gay women, they eventually are in a long distance relationship AND they are both career driven AND there’s a bit of an age gap. Age gap’s kinda bother me because they sometimes make it creepy? but i thought this was really well done. They saw each other for the first time since uni. Age was mentioned but it wasn’t mentioned in the typical creepy way (IMO). 
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The book also had a really nice secondary character who i loved. She was a judge, she was married to a man (a cheating man) and then she explored her sexuality & ended up finding love 🥰
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the book was steamy 🌶🌶 but also really cute. They kinda fell for eachother fast but i think there was a lot of underlying feelings that they hadn’t shared when they were in uni together. There bond was immediate and you could easily tell from the very first encounter they have. 
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If you liked: Red White & Royal Blue (this is obvi wlw but there’s a lot of similarities to the LDR & trying to find time for each other).
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Verity Lowell tackles big issues in Meet Me In Madrid. 

Lowell addresses the glass ceiling in the academic and art worlds for women and especially non-white women. The lack of interest in showcasing non-white art and artists by white art boards. Whether your voice is heard in the academic field if you are a non-white queer person. Lowell also brings up adultery affecting a secondary character and how far does friend code extend?

There is a romance buried in there (chuckle). It is overshadowed by all of the other topics along with the age gap between Charlotte and Adrianna and the problems of long-distance relationships. Then there is the added baggage we allow into our current relationships from our past. Busy book.

Overall this book is good. I think it could have been a lot better with less romance. Shocker. (laugh) I am actually saying to put less romance into a book. I do think that less romance would have made the book far more nuanced if it focused on Charlotte’s journey. Her journey and the messages along the way are important and I feel the romance muddies the road. There is a hashtag I like that says: romance is a bonus. In this case, I wholeheartedly agree. Charlotte’s success is more important than who she ends up partnered with at the moment.

I make that sound like Lowell doesn’t give us a happy ending. Lowell does, but it sounds more like a happy-for-now ending. Hence, why I say that less romance would have been better. The topics are strong and Charlotte’s self-discovery is more important in my opinion.

Meet Me In Madrid is more than just a long-distance romance book. It is a message of strength, resilience, and the power of people helping people.

I received a free copy of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.
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🔊Song Pairing: King of Spain - Tallest man on Earth 

💭What I thought would happen:

Woman has a crisis and needs a change 

📖What actually happens: 

Charlotte is a museum courier trapped in Spain for a few extra days (hard life)! The problem being that work has taken over Charlotte’s life. These few extra days may be mush what she needs to change her life. 

Charlotte finds herself at Adrianna’s place, her friend and crush to wait out the storm. The problem? Charlotte will have to return to the states and the beginning of long distance will soon create all kinds of havoc on their love. 

🗯Thoughts:

Travel, yes! LGBTQ+ representation, yes please! HEA, absolutely! This book has everything I want in a romance. 

The best part is that this book can be enjoyed any time of the year, in any climate. Going on vacation, may as well bring this along! Going on a ski trip, cozy up to the fire with this romance! 

I love Charlotte and Adrianna so much. I just want to be a friend of both of theirs.

Would highly recommend! 

QOTD:
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Sometimes books just don't hit right and this was one of them for me. I found it boring and I'm not writing up a full review because I don't think it would be kind to me or the book to force myself to do so.
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