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Simply divine

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross is getting a lot of prepublicity press, and for good reasons. It is one of those books that charms you from the first sentence and has you completely hooked by the end of the first chapter. Ms. Ross creates the most adorable characters and establishes a world that could take place in Europe in the 1920s if it weren’t for the existence of gods and monsters. The whole experience is complete immersion, where lines blur between real life and the fictional one in front of your eyes. From a reader’s perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that.

The power of Divine Rivals lies in Ms. Ross’ writing. It is a thing of beauty. She does not use flowery language or long, complex sentences to build her world or create her characters. Instead, you know she chose each word her words with care, each selected for the maximum impact it would have in whatever she was trying to do, whether it be building a world, creating a character, or describing the action. She succeeds so well in this that you can hear the clacking of the typewriter keys as each character writes a letter or a news article. You can smell the stale air of Iris’ flat and feel her fear as she experiences the front lines of the war for the first time. You forget you are reading a novel and become entirely submerged in this world she builds, and it is wonderful.

Not only do you lose yourself entirely in the story, but Iris and Roman are also two of the most charming characters you will meet. Iris bursts onto the scene running late for work, in the rain, and with a broken heel on her shoe. With that description, I knew that Iris was going to be special. Then she walks into the office with her head held high despite rain-soaked hair and clothes and a lopsided walk, and I fell in love. She is earnest, lovable, loyal, ambitious, and so lonely.

Roman is the perfect foil for Iris, although it may not initially seem so. In truth, I was cautious about Roman knowing he was writing to Iris while she remained clueless. Thankfully, Ms. Ross takes all the potential ickiness about the situation and turns it into an opportunity to see how fragile and awkward Roman is despite his perfect appearance. Those scenes show Roman at his most vulnerable, making me fall in love with him. There is something about a hero like the Avengers with all the brawn and special abilities, but give me a man and woman who show their nervousness, embarrassment, and realness every time.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross is simply divine. I adore Iris and Roman and became full-blown shippers of their relationship after the first set of letters. I also love how she reminds readers of the mystery and romance in written correspondence. The only negative point about the book is that it ends when you are not ready for it to do so. I will be stalking Ms. Ross on social media until we get a release date for the sequel and marking that date in my calendar because it will be an excruciating wait to find out what happens to Iris and Roman next.

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