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4 December 2013

Review: 'The Drake Equation' by Heather Walsh (2013)

She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet, Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin. Despite both of their attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in love. Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and all its complexities.

Next to the obviously gorgeous cover, ‘The Drake Equation’ immediately caught my attention when author Heather Walsh told me it was her own homage to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ As some of you might know, I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and am always open to sequels to her works or stories based on them. Yet, the blurb of ‘The Drake Equation’ also spiked my interest, so overall I was quite curious to see and discover what this novel would be like!

Emily Crossly is a twenty-something who is extremely passionate about her work at the non-profit environmental organisation GeoForce. She’s a true liberal at heart and does everything in her power to reach GeoForce’s goal to reduce the amount of SUV’s and other gas-guzzling cars. At one of GeoForce’s yearly events, Emily meets Robert Drake. A man who appears to be just as driven as her, but for the enemy: he works at Bell Motors, the only auto manufacturing company in the area, and a conservative at heart. Even though Emily and Robert don’t seem to have anything in common, they instantly notice the attraction between them and decide to give it a shot. Is it really true that opposites attract or will it be impossible for Emily and Robert to look past their individual differences?

‘The Drake Equation’ is Heather Walsh’ own homage to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I can definitely see the similarities between the famous love story of Elizabeth and Darcy on the one hand, and Emily and Robert, the main characters of this novel, on the other hand. The book focuses mainly on the development of the relationship between Emily and Robert: as complete opposites of one another, will they be able to overcome their differences? The book is really well-written, particularly the dialogues were great to read and at the core there are some fascinating and realistic characters, even though they might seem a bit stereotypical at first. There is also a good mix of smaller characters, such as Emily’s co-workers Carson and Andy, who added some subplot to the novel. 

One of the elements of this book I wasn’t too sure about at first is the amount of attention that is given to political matters and environmental concerns. Numerous dialogues between Emily and Robert focus on these topics, which gives the novel an intelligent character, but I was personally glad when the story became a bit more than just these controversial subjects to discuss. Overall, ‘The Drake Equation’ is just what it says on the cover: a contemporary love story; one that is really well-written and has two interesting and likeable characters at its core. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I hope we hear more from Heather Walsh in the future!


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