What an enjoyable snack of a book this was. I was reminded a few days ago that I had bought (Trust) Falling for You as a birthday gift to myself back in February and I snuck it into my weekend reading line up. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it is a novella, I hadn’t realized, but a 120-page story was just the right size for my mood. Charish Reid specializes in writing stories featuring people of color in higher education and their love stories. I really enjoyed Hearts on Hold last year and (Trust) Falling for You shares much of what I liked in that one, while being just a touch more lighthearted.
This book tells the story of Yolanda Watson is the “fun professor” from the English Department and her nemesis in the History Department, Samuel Morris. Morris beat her out for a grant as well as chairs the boring committee she sits on. These two opposites find themselves thrown together for a week of close proximity as the various Humanities Departments of Franklin University spend a week away at a university team-building retreat to the woods of Wisconsin. There’s a lodging mix-up, and the pair are forced to share the same cabin for six nights. As Team-Building Buddies, they will take part together in all the embarrassing bonding games the Dean throws at them. In order to succeed they’ll have to learn to meet in the middle, and that’s before accounting for the sexual tension that gets harder to ignore.
I laughed a lot while reading this one. Forced Fun is my least favorite type of work activity, and these team building exercises were often the stuff of my nightmares, but they were for the characters as well and Reid populated her story with personalities that rang true for academic settings as well the kind of people you would expect to be friends with her leads (well, in Samuel’s case the kinds of people most likely to warm up to him once he relaxes). Their banter was crucial to the strength of the story and served well as a counterpoint to the more intimate moments between Yolanda and Samuel when they begin to allow the other one in. The characters take time to reflect and make changes, and left me with just enough loose endings to keep the story in my mind without feeling unsatisfied.