No, I am not going to compare Dickens to The Sex Surrogate but now that I have mentioned it, know that there will be no further references because I never got much beyond considering watching the movie and then opting for something more timely starring Ethan Hawke instead. What I was in fact referring to was our own preconceived notions that we often have before we pick up something new to read, particularly when the author is unfamiliar. The Sex Surrogate popped up on my Goodreads page recently and I was so intrigued that I “one-clicked” and read it in the space of 24 hours. Then even though I have other books that I should be reading I flipped back to page one and started all over again.
From Goodreads – Ava has been suffering from sexual dysfunction for years. Tired of not being able to have a normal relationship with a man, she is steered in the direction of Dr. Chase Hudson, a psychologist and sexual surrogate.
When she signed up for her sessions, she wasn’t prepared for his god-like good looks or her instant, intense, and growing connection with him.
But as things heat up… and professional lines get blurred, she is forced to confront the question: What are you supposed to do when you start falling for your sex surrogate?
Often times the description or the rave review on my Goodreads feed can hook my attention but once I visit the book page itself, it is the more critical reviews that ultimately seal any particular book’s fate for me. However, when I was skimming the reviews for The Sex Surrogate I saw that one of the less than positive reviews commented that they found the hero to be “creepy” as he was an authority figure etc. While I believed that in itself was a valid argument it struck me as completely out of place in the context of the story and didn’t deter me in the least from reading it. As I read I kept reflecting on this reader’s words and couldn’t help thinking “well, what did you THINK it was about?” Obviously, in real life for one’s therapist to develop a romantic attachment would be unethical and extremely unprofessional but this is fiction and for entertainment purposes only and if such a thing is a trigger why would you read about it?
Ava suffers from anxiety, the nature of which is not examined in depth but upon the advice of her therapist she seeks the treatment of another therapist one who also specializes in sexual surrogacy. Prepared for her therapist to be old and not in the least bit attractive, instead Dr. Hudson is a tall, young, ripped, blue eyed, raven-haired example of the best humanity has to offer.
Ava’s first sexual encounter was particularly unpleasant and already having a tendency to be awkward and introverted she became increasingly anxious in subsequent attempts to the point of suffering panic attacks when she found herself in situations that were too overwhelming. Chase’s non-judgmental, straight forward manner allows Ava to begin to explore sexual situations without the crippling anxiety she had suffered in the past. Of course it isn’t long before Ava begins to question the deepening feelings that she has for the very attractive doctor, is it “transference” or something more?
The Sex Surrogate was a wonderful surprise, free of angst and unexpectedly humorous at times. I can be a crotchety, difficult to please reader, critical of so many things that I get on my own nerves. Wading into a story featuring a character with anxiety had my arm-chair psychologist on high alert and ready to pounce. However, instead of snorting to myself and muttering “shyeah right” I found that I was nodding and thinking “that could happen…” well other than the plausibility of a sexologist who looked in my mind like the glorious Henry Cavill but I was willing to let that one slide because truly we all need our fantasies.
If I wanted to be nit-picky and fussy I could claim that the connection between the main characters was a bit insta-lovey (it was) but see above! I rest my case. Or that the best friend Shay was at times the stereotypical BFF you know the type, man-eating, loud just a touch crass and of course fashion savvy. Yet she was somehow was the perfect foil to our adorably clueless heroine and instead of coming off as skeevy her roommate was just such a dude that I found myself disappointed that his romance isn’t coming up in the queue. Is it?
Frankly, I can’t wait for the upcoming follow-up from Chase’s POV. In the meantime I likely will be ferreting out everything Ms Gadziala has written to date and procrastinating on all the other reading I should be doing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica is a full-time writer from New Jersey who believes coffee is a food group and that her parrots can totally understand her when she talks to them. She can not be trusted with houseplants or to respond to text messages in a reasonable amount of time.
Writing was the only acceptable career path for her from the first time she learned that with just twenty-six letters, she could create whole new worlds. She attempted a string of odd jobs before quitting and taking the blind leap of faith that was trying to make a career out of her passion.
Jessica is a firm believer in snark, strong secondary characters, and HEA.
When she is not writing (which is practically never), she is obsessively trying to read as many books as possible and has totally been known to throw temper tantrums over fictional characters.
She is super active on GR and, in fact, is probably stalking your status updates right now.
Her current project is “Monster” and will be available December 3rd!