Initial reaction:Megan Hart’s “The Space Between Us” is a story of exploration of a young woman with a damaged history trying to find a place/space to feel loved. There are many paths that she takes in the path of that, but ultimately, Tesla’s journey takes her full circle to find the relationship she ultimately wants, and it’s more that she knows what she wants, but doesn’t know how to assert it.
I liked the story arc well enough and understood the journey as far as how it transpired, but I’ll admit I wasn’t enamored with it in certain spells – there were many things I had to swallow and just outright didn’t sit well with me. For one, I never had a point where I really liked Meredith, but in a way, I think that was intentional, considering her character collectively. There were dimensions of the story I think could’ve used more exploration, but somehow, I still found myself following Tesla in the scheme of her relationships – both romantic and familial.
Even after taking a day to think about my sentiments surrounding “The Space Between Us”, I find myself in a conflicted space. On one hand, I love Megan Hart’s writing and her ability to weave the relationships between her characters with such ease. The slice of life format didn’t bother me either – I like delving into the characters day-to-day trials and experiences, and I like establishing the bonds and connections in the primary character’s life.
Yet, as only the third full novel I’ve read in Hart’s erotica bibliography – I don’t think this is as strong of an effort as some of her previous works. It hit me with some emotional punches in certain parts of the novel, but they were more on the familial side rather than the romantic side, which I thought could’ve been better than it was. The reason I say that is because I think Hart could’ve delved a bit more into the dynamic of what developed as a menage relationship between three very flawed characters who somehow converge and collide in different angles.
Tesla and her brother Cap originally came from a household of hippies who lead a very controversial lifestyle, and it was only by Vic and Elaine’s hand of taking them in that their respective lives were able to be stable enough to grow from their rather rough childhood, which included watching their sexually adventurous parents at a young age. Yet, Tesla herself has moved through a number of relationships where she’s tried to be in a menage, even as early as her teens (with twins, no less), but the result had left a trail of broken hearts and old wounds.
In her mid twenties, in the present day, Tesla’s working at the Morningstar Mocha with her usual coworkers, making a living for herself. She doesn’t expect to come across the rather flighty personality of Meredith, who seems insistent on knowing more about Tesla’s more “adventurous” side. Tesla’s sexual preferences are bisexual, and she tells Meredith stories of her sexual encounters. It’s only a matter of time before Meredith makes a rather odd proposition – Tesla becoming involved with her and her husband, Charlie.
From there, the story toggles between the relationship that Tesla has with Charlie and Meredith, and her home life with Vic, Elaine and their two kids. Some of the scenes between Tesla, Charlie, and Meredith are very hot in intensity, but I felt a disconnect because Meredith was very unlikable (she’s flighty, quick to slut shame, and insufferably moody), while Charlie I wish could’ve had more meat to his persona, I felt he was more told than shown in terms of his characterization in spurts.
The real fruit of the novel for me was showing Tesla’s famlilial relationships and how she dealt with Vic, Elaine and living with their growing family. The interactions between them were interesting, though I noted Tesla’s complicated relationship with Vic in past considerations, which brought some interesting eyes of conflict in present terms. I think the core of the conflict resonated more with them and the affections lent in that circle (along with Tesla’s brother Cap) were worth watching through the novel. It gave additional dimensions in how Tesla felt a bit of a third wheel in her relationships. In the end, I think there’s a full circle established in that Tesla has to stand up and assert what she wants in her relationship, but I think it could’ve had much more connectivity than it had. Towards the end, it culminated in a fallout that was inevitable given the circumstances, and I appreciated seeing that, but I don’t know if the impact had as much punch as it could’ve had. Perhaps with more dimensional attention to both Charlie and Meredith (even with Meredith’s unlikable traits), it could’ve been better established.
Still, I thought it was a decent novel of its particular genre and consideration. It didn’t completely immerse me, but I liked parts of it enough where it stood out. I just think some of Hart’s other works had a little more impact on me than this one.
Overall score: 3/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Harlequin.