November 8, 2013

Review: The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh

The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh
Published: 2013, Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Romance
Source: From the author
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“There’s actually a calculation of how many planets might contain intelligent life. Do you want to know what it’s called?” he said.
“The Drake Equation.”
“You’re kidding.”
“No. And no relation, in case you were wondering.”
She smiled.

For the past few years, Emily Crossley has worked for GeoForce, the only environmental nonprofit organization in her area of Connecticut. Mostly surrounded by those who espouse similar political and economic views, Emily deals with those who disagree by simply avoiding a discussion of those topics. At the annual Give Up Your SUV for a Day event hosted by her company, however, Emily meets Robert Drake. He works for the local SUV distributor Bell Motors and is everything she despises about conservative politics. And yet she also cannot deny that there is some sort of connection between them.

The Drake Equation is essentially about the relationship that forms between the two as they gradually test the limits of what really matters to each of them and what beliefs they’re willing to sacrifice.

I’m not much of a fan of politics, and neither do I tend to read many books expressly billed as adult romances, but I decided to take a chance with Heather Walsh’s new book. And although there were a few missteps along the way, I still am glad I had the opportunity to read this.

As anyone will notice who reads the book’s blurb, politics and political ideology are abundant in this novel. Through Emily and Robert, readers may expect to find two extremes. However, that’s not quite the case. Sure, Emily has strong liberal beliefs that border on closed-mindedness, but the same cannot be said for the more conservative Robert. Because of this, I actually felt as though I understood Robert’s character a bit more than Emily’s (ironically, since the story is told from her perspective). Not only has Emily never really accepted any challenges to her beliefs, but she has also never paused to consider exactly why she believes in these basic liberal ideologies.

While an interesting and relevant premise, the ideological differences are mainly expressed through debate. At times, this led to the book feeling very dialogue-heavy with little rest provided through description or other information. After Emily and Robert become a little more established in their relationship, other issues are brought to the forefront: namely Robert’s workaholic tendencies. It is his overcommitment to his work, rather than their political differences, that actually creates a wedge in their relationship.

The book’s resolution focuses more on Robert’s time management tendencies and Emily’s struggle to understand her own wants and needs, effectively sidelining their political issues. This was not a big issue for me, as after a while I started to tire of the intense political debates, but this is a marked difference from what I expected the book to be about. Here politics seem to act more as a vehicle for bringing Emily and Robert together and then takes a back seat to other, more personal issues. Once again, not necessarily a bad thing but certainly worth noting.
For a fairly short novel, Walsh is quite ambitious in just what she wants to portray about the modern romance. It’s about politics and belief systems, until suddenly it’s not. It’s about Emily’s journey to find herself, Robert’s struggles to balance his work life with his personal life, and identifying many other little parts that come together in a successful romance. I appreciated how Walsh really tried to identify the many factors that tend to complicate modern-day relationships, but at times I felt as though the issues being addressed came across as too wide-spread.

Although I would have liked to see certain aspects of the book condensed and others expanded upon, it’s clear that Walsh can write. From an aesthetic standpoint, The Drake Equation is very eloquent and well-written. I just wish a bit more time was spent deciding just what readers are supposed to get out of this story. As it is, I can see this working for readers who enjoy more heavy stories, and stories that start to question what people value most in their relationships, even if it doesn’t quite end up answering anything specifically.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Disclaimer: I received this review copy from the author, but that in no way affected my opinion. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this, Heather!

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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. While I do enjoy politics in my books, I'm not a fan of it as the main focus, so I think I'll be passing up on this one for sure. Thanks for the honest review, Amanda!

    1. I'm starting to think the same may be true for me. I thought I might have been a fan of it, but perhaps that's not where my preferences lie. Oh well.

  2. That cover is just gorgeous! But I passed on reviewing this because I'm not a huge fan of politics. It sounds like I probably made a good decision, though I'm glad you found some good points in this story.

    1. It is a gorgeous cover, I agree! And yeah, I think that this definitely has an audience, just not with me and probably also not with the people who read my blog.


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