This is a slow-burn romance between Susanne Wolff, a business consultant, and her uncle’s stationary shop employee Anja Lamm. When Susanne is urged to try to save ‘Paper love’, a small shop located in Freiburg, her relationship with Anja gets off to a rocky start. Can they learn to trust each other to keep away ‘Paper love’ from bankruptcy? Will their budding friendship develop into something more?
This love story has the unexpected setting in a stationary store within the also unexpectedly beautiful background of Jae’s home city of Freiburg (Germany). I have to admit that I knew nothing about this place so I googled it and discovered a hidden gem. You should do it too. Kudos to the author to put this incredibly charming city on the lesfic map. Her depiction of Freiburg in the narrative is evocative and flows naturally like the water in the city’s typical small canals known locally as Bächle. It’s a refreshing change from the usual lesfic scenery.
There are apparent contraditions in this novel. Susanne Wolff (German for wolf) embodies the succesful city executive focused on her career while Anja Lamm (lamb) is idealist, laidback and provincial. Digital and paper worlds war against each other as the two women try to find a way to rescue ‘Paper love’ from commercial disaster. Eventually they find that their common ground doesn’t need to disregard one but to complement each other. Slowly, as their relationship progresses, Anja discovers the importance of business planning and online marketing while Susanne (and most of us readers) discovers the sexy side of stationary. There are no big dramas or angst, the story flows with the simplicity of two very different people getting to know each other and fueling their attraction in that contrast. Even the characters’ sexuality is diverse, as one is a lesbian and the other bisexual. In that regard, Jae gives a good insight on biophia and prejudices against bisexuals without forcing the issue to the reader.
The secondary characters are well rounded, specially Susanne’s ‘womb mate’, Anja’s best friend and Muesli, a cute little kitten. Jae as always delivers a well written, entertaining and original story.
Overall, a feel good slow-burn romance set in a charming city. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.