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lesbian teacher-student relationship

A lesbian teacher-student relationship novel

Review of ‘Fearless’ by Tina Michele

Laura Carter has wanted to become a dolphin trainer since she was a little girl. Her career path became a convoluted road when she had a near-drowning accident as a teenager. It has taken her ten years to overcome the tragedy just enough to apply to Tampa’s Marine Research Institute and their intensive thirty six week internship program. Jillian Marshall is the director of the institute and a consummate professional. She has dedicated her life to education and the animals in her care. The women meet and sparks fly right away. Can they sacrifice dreams in order to have a romantic relationship?

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I was looking forward to this book because well, there was a dolphin on the cover. In a way, close enough to my own dreams. Unfortunately, it was mostly a miss for me.

Laura’s character suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after her accident and has left her at odds with her dream since marine animal training requires for her to be in the water. Kudos to the author for trying to tackle something like PTSD outside the usual context. However, there were a couple of things that bothered me. Laura was not released by her doctor to pursue this particular training, so she failed to disclose her medical condition when she applied for the internship. In this case, that meant putting herself, fellow trainees, and potentially animals at risk. Additionally, the solution to that dilemma left something to be desired. It definitely did not seem ethical on many levels.

That brings us to the relationship, which compounded the problem with the morals in this story. This is somewhat of a lesbian teacher-student relationship novel. For all the problems that could have come from this situation, this was mostly an insta-love story in which the mains had very little struggle coming together. And not only that but did close to nothing to hide it. Maybe things should have been kept more platonic and allow time to pass so we could be a few months into the internship and the relationship be significant by then and based on personality, not physical chemistry (which I will admit, was very much present). And hey, have to mention Jillian’s ‘sweet girl’ immediate term of endearment towards Laura made me cringe. Perhaps because it came from Jillian and she is the one in the position of power. Please save those for the animals.

The story had an interesting, action opening scene that grabs the reader’s attention. The interesting action picks up late in the book when animals become more central to the story. I did like the final resolution as I was not sure how things were going to be solved. Thank you to Pepper the dolphin for coming to the rescue.

The cover design, also by Ms. Michele, was excellent and perfect for the story. It is definitely eye-catching and guaranteed to get more readers interested in this novel. 2.75 stars

ARC generously provided to me by BSB via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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