A very good wlw debut novel set in the US in the late 1990s

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wlw debut novel

A very good wlw debut novel set in the US in the late 1990s

Review of ‘The Love Factor’ by Quinn Ivins, audiobook narrated by Lori Prince

This was a very good wlw debut novel set in the US in the late 1990s during the time of President Clinton’s impeachment. I haven’t read that many books set in the 90s so I’ve decided to give it a go.


Molly Cook is a Political Science graduate student in the late 90s more interested in feminist and gay rights activism than academic research. Carmen Vaughn is Molly’s statistics professor and a closeted lesbian working in a very sexist and homophobic university. When both women need to work together to build a case against a homophobic professor involved in a scandal, they will discover a mutual attraction that will be hard to deny. But it’s the 1990s and teacher-student relationships, and moreover, between women are frown upon…

Even though the blurb hinted that this book described political issues, I admit that I wasn’t expecting the amount of political and social criticism and detail about the events surrounding President Clinton’s scandal with Monica Lewinsky. I remember those times well so, for me, it was interesting to read about the political environment in the US then. Having said that, I’ve majored in Political Science and I still have an interest in politics, so I might have liked it more than the average reader.

There is a level of academic detail in statistics for social sciences research that I personally found interesting but that might put some people to sleep. It’s cleverly intertwined with the investigation plot and the little intrigue going on, though.

The historical context of the 1990s was very well done, Ellen Degeneres’s coming out on TV, the republicans’ outcry about Clinton’s scandal, the homophobia and sexism in society in general, and academia in particular, felt very real. It wasn’t easy to come out as gay during those times and the book reflects that. Kudos to the author to describe that historical context so well.

I found the romance subplot a bit weak and the chemistry between the mains a bit lacking. The forbidden element of the relationship (teacher-student, age gap, lesbianism) had the potential to create more pent-up sexual tension. For me, it was ok but not off the charts, however, it felt realistic in the context of the 90s and the characters’ personalities, especially considering how closeted Carmen was.

I’ve listened to the audiobook narrated by Lori Prince. Once again, Ms. Prince delivered like the pro she is. She found the perfect pacing even for the more intellectual parts of the plot, her performance of both mains did justice to their personalities and Carmen sounded sexy as hell. Ms. Prince’s male voices were also spot-on and her performance of the villain was convincing. If you like politics and a little bit of intrigue in your plot, then this book is for you. This was a very promising debut by Quinn Ivins and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 4.5 stars.

Length: 8 hours, 36 minutes

Available on Scribd

wlw debut novelwlw debut novel


The Love Factor
wlw debut novel

This was a very good wlw debut novel set in the US in the late 1990s during the time of President Clinton's impeachment. I haven't read that many books set in the 90s so I've decided to give it a go.

URL: 4.5 stars, Age gap, Homophobia, Politics, Sexism, Student, Teacher

Author: Quinn Ivins

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