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3 stories + 3 couples = 6 lonely hearts finding happily-ever-after at last. "Sweetest in the Gale": Much ado about love... Candy Albright has always stomped confidently through the halls of Marysburg High, passionate and loud and entirely devoted to her students and her various English department initiatives. From his first day as her colleague, Griff Conover couldn't look a 3 stories + 3 couples = 6 lonely hearts finding happily-ever-after at last. "Sweetest in the Gale": Much ado about love... Candy Albright has always stomped confidently through the halls of Marysburg High, passionate and loud and entirely devoted to her students and her various English department initiatives. From his first day as her colleague, Griff Conover couldn't look away, despite his best efforts. After a summer apart, though, Candy returns to school a changed woman. Muted. Dimmed. Bowed by a grief Griff recognizes all too well, but doesn't yet understand. And when they're thrown together to coordinate a poetry project, he can't resist the urge to read between her lines once and for all--even if doing so means he'll have to confront his own loss...and his own lonely, longing heart. "Unraveled": The more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels... Math teacher Simon Burnham--cool, calm, controlled--can't abide problems with no good solution. Which makes his current work assignment, mentoring art teacher Poppy Wick, nothing short of torture. She's warm but sharp. Chaotic but meticulous. Simultaneously the most frustrating and most alluring woman he's ever known. And in her free time, she makes murder dioramas. Murder dioramas, for heaven's sake. But the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels--and despite his best efforts, he soon finds himself attempting to solve three separate mysteries: a murder in miniature, the unexplained disappearance of a colleague...and the unexpected theft of his cold, cold heart. "Cover Me": First comes marriage... Elizabeth Stone has no health insurance. No savings. No one to turn to when she finds a lump on her breast...except James Magnusson, her friend of over twenty years. When he offers her a marriage of convenience for healthcare coverage, she'd be a fool to say no. But given the emotions she's buried for so long, saying yes might lead to a broken heart. James won't take no for an answer. Not when marriage could save Elizabeth's life, and not when he's finally realized how much he needs her. Even during his doomed first marriage, James considered Elizabeth a special friend--one he had to keep at a safe distance. Now he's free, and Elizabeth is his wife...but will they finally have the chance to be together, only to have everything torn apart? Content guidance for "Cover Me": This story contains discussions of breast cancer, an on-page mammogram and biopsy, and a definite happily-ever-after. This book contains one entirely new story ("Sweetest in the Gale") and two stories previously published in the He's Come Undone and Rogue Acts anthologies. The latter stories have been lightly edited since their original publication, and "Unraveled" has a new epilogue.


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3 stories + 3 couples = 6 lonely hearts finding happily-ever-after at last. "Sweetest in the Gale": Much ado about love... Candy Albright has always stomped confidently through the halls of Marysburg High, passionate and loud and entirely devoted to her students and her various English department initiatives. From his first day as her colleague, Griff Conover couldn't look a 3 stories + 3 couples = 6 lonely hearts finding happily-ever-after at last. "Sweetest in the Gale": Much ado about love... Candy Albright has always stomped confidently through the halls of Marysburg High, passionate and loud and entirely devoted to her students and her various English department initiatives. From his first day as her colleague, Griff Conover couldn't look away, despite his best efforts. After a summer apart, though, Candy returns to school a changed woman. Muted. Dimmed. Bowed by a grief Griff recognizes all too well, but doesn't yet understand. And when they're thrown together to coordinate a poetry project, he can't resist the urge to read between her lines once and for all--even if doing so means he'll have to confront his own loss...and his own lonely, longing heart. "Unraveled": The more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels... Math teacher Simon Burnham--cool, calm, controlled--can't abide problems with no good solution. Which makes his current work assignment, mentoring art teacher Poppy Wick, nothing short of torture. She's warm but sharp. Chaotic but meticulous. Simultaneously the most frustrating and most alluring woman he's ever known. And in her free time, she makes murder dioramas. Murder dioramas, for heaven's sake. But the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels--and despite his best efforts, he soon finds himself attempting to solve three separate mysteries: a murder in miniature, the unexplained disappearance of a colleague...and the unexpected theft of his cold, cold heart. "Cover Me": First comes marriage... Elizabeth Stone has no health insurance. No savings. No one to turn to when she finds a lump on her breast...except James Magnusson, her friend of over twenty years. When he offers her a marriage of convenience for healthcare coverage, she'd be a fool to say no. But given the emotions she's buried for so long, saying yes might lead to a broken heart. James won't take no for an answer. Not when marriage could save Elizabeth's life, and not when he's finally realized how much he needs her. Even during his doomed first marriage, James considered Elizabeth a special friend--one he had to keep at a safe distance. Now he's free, and Elizabeth is his wife...but will they finally have the chance to be together, only to have everything torn apart? Content guidance for "Cover Me": This story contains discussions of breast cancer, an on-page mammogram and biopsy, and a definite happily-ever-after. This book contains one entirely new story ("Sweetest in the Gale") and two stories previously published in the He's Come Undone and Rogue Acts anthologies. The latter stories have been lightly edited since their original publication, and "Unraveled" has a new epilogue.

30 review for Sweetest in the Gale

  1. 4 out of 5

    aarya

    As a romance reader with zero restraint, I read my arc the evening it landed on my e-reader. Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of a brand-new novella (“Sweetest in the Gale”) and two previously published novellas (“Unraveled” and “Cover Me”). “Sweetest in the Gale” navigates grief as two English teachers organize a school-wide poetry initiative. In “Unraveled,” sparks fly when a tightly-wound math teacher mentors a chaotic art instructor in an opposites attract romance-slash-murder-diorama-my As a romance reader with zero restraint, I read my arc the evening it landed on my e-reader. Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of a brand-new novella (“Sweetest in the Gale”) and two previously published novellas (“Unraveled” and “Cover Me”). “Sweetest in the Gale” navigates grief as two English teachers organize a school-wide poetry initiative. In “Unraveled,” sparks fly when a tightly-wound math teacher mentors a chaotic art instructor in an opposites attract romance-slash-murder-diorama-mystery. And in “Cover Me,” a decades-long friendship suddenly turns into a marriage of convenience when an uninsured woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Set in the fictional town of Marysburg in Virginia, Sweetest in the Gale is a veritable treasure trove of swoons, sighs, and sobs (I frequently experienced all three while reading). The stories are as beautiful as the anthology cover, and you can see how beautiful the cover is (shout-out to cover artist Leni Kauffman)! I’d definitely recommend Sweetest in the Gale to lovers of contemporary romance, particularly those who appreciate throughly decent and kind individuals falling in love. “Sweetest in the Gale” CW: (view spoiler)[grief, heroine’s sister died from opioid addiction a few months before the story starts, hero’s wife died from brain aneurysm three years ago, on-page broken bones (hide spoiler)] “Oh, this was undiluted pleasure. To share a common language, to exult together in a searing turn of phrase, to find a kindred soul in poetry.” Okay, this is really, REALLY sad. But it also made me super happy? Is that an oxymoron? In my experience, grief storylines are bright when they’re paired with a happy ending. It fills me with hope when characters shrouded in darkness come together and search for a light at the end of a tunnel. Huh. That was almost... poetic of me. Very on brand for this novella. (Please ignore me, that’s the worst/most clichéd thing I’ve ever written. My attempts of using flowery/metaphorical language for this poetry-themed novella review failed miserably. Folks, this is why I majored in economics and government in college.) ANYWAY. I really enjoyed this story. I’ve loved every story set in Marysburg High School. The protagonists always remind me of my favorite teachers: passionate with an infinite capacity for generosity. I said this in my review for Teach Me, but that’s why I love this series so much. The attentiveness and care they show to students is precious; the leads being good teachers is why I root so passionately for their happily-ever-afters. I don’t want to spoil the romance too much, but here are some things I enjoyed about it: meddling principals devising poetry initiatives in an unsubtle attempt at matchmaking. An appreciation of literature that includes modern contributions (and not just “classics” from Dead White Men). So much pining and respect from both sides, even when their love is mired with grief. Lexiconic debates about the “monster” in Frankenstein and vehement agreement about Byron’s fuckboi/asshole status. And so, so much more. The beautiful cover depicts a scene toward the end of novella; it made me really happy to have a visual representation while tearing up with joy. “Unraveled” CW: (view spoiler)[ on-page sex, profanity, brief mentions of witnessed family violence during childhood, and discussion of a fictional diorama murder. (hide spoiler)] Note: I read “Unraveled” in another anthology and am copying my review over. For those who have already read it, there’s a new epilogue and it’s ADORABLE. Don’t forget to check it out. “Her touch had incinerated him so thoroughly, he might as well be the house in her diorama. And the burn had left him feeling anything—anything—but gentlemanly and professional.” I’ve enjoyed Dade’s work before but I think that her Marysburg school series is my favorite. I’m biased because I went to school in the same suburban Central Virginia area; the setting feels unnervingly familiar to my experience. I have fond memories of high school (I know! Shocking!) and don’t mind experiencing nostalgia via fiction. It’s so fun! Murder dioramas! Goth softball players! Gossipy teachers and scandalous past events that led to a mysterious firing! Starchy math teacher paired with infuriating, carefree artist! This is tailor-made to my interests. I kinda loved how the author abandoned the concept of a bleak moment. It doesn’t exist, and it works so well without it. I was a bit disappointed that Poppy never has a POV scene. I’m not a big fan of single POV romances in contemporary settings (the story is entirely from Simon’s 3rd person/past tense POV), so my desire for Poppy’s perspective is more about personal reading preferences, not a failure of the execution. YMMV. “Cover Me” CW: (view spoiler)[on-page sex, on-page mammogram, on-page biopsy, breast cancer, alcoholism (hide spoiler)] “Then he raised his head, arm still tight around her waist, and she dimly registered the hush of a half-dozen stunned wedding guests. All people who knew the situation. Who knew this wasn’t a real marriage, blindingly sweet kiss notwithstanding.” I don’t have much to say about “Cover Me,” but that’s not because I didn’t like it. The breast cancer storyline hit close to home because of my family history/struggles with breast cancer. It’s beautifully written, but maybe it’s TOO personal for me to really enjoy it?! I don’t even know. I was stressed out the entire time. This is more a “me” problem than the novella being unenjoyable. YMMV, because I think most readers would like this story. The political discussion around healthcare insurance, particularly the scene with the congressman, was brilliant. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darlene I read WAY to many books

    This bundle is a wholeee 3 novellas and ill be honest only 1 really stood out to me!!! So im read just that one for now. And my rating is just for THAT NOVELLA. Cover Me- Elizabeth and James ⭐⭐ This novella I should have set my expectations low. I just wish these two wouldn't have spent so much time PINNING for one another.. dude got married had some kids now divorced.. and Eliza well she went on dates and was single forever... now that she has a scare of cancer and tells James.. now he offers to This bundle is a wholeee 3 novellas and ill be honest only 1 really stood out to me!!! So im read just that one for now. And my rating is just for THAT NOVELLA. Cover Me- Elizabeth and James ⭐⭐ This novella I should have set my expectations low. I just wish these two wouldn't have spent so much time PINNING for one another.. dude got married had some kids now divorced.. and Eliza well she went on dates and was single forever... now that she has a scare of cancer and tells James.. now he offers to marry her to get insurance..  now both are angsty thinking the other only cares as friends. both are wrong.. i just wish it didn't take them this long to finally tell one another "hey I love you". So much wasted time.. 😭😭😭😭 Angst, no om/ow drama, no cheating, drama, semi sex, no virgins Recommend- ehhh Cover-⭐⭐⭐⭐ Slowish burn Breast cancer 47h/47H Pinning Mentions alcoholism Hea Epilogue

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I love everything Olivia Dade writes. She has such real characters representative of real life. I liked the first story, and the beautiful snippets of poetry, but the second story, with a heroine who makes murder dioramas was a particular favorite. How could it not be? The third story was previously published, and I'd read it before, so I didn't reread. But I also remember that one as being a lovely story. I could happily spend more time in Marysburg and the school setting. I love everything Olivia Dade writes. She has such real characters representative of real life. I liked the first story, and the beautiful snippets of poetry, but the second story, with a heroine who makes murder dioramas was a particular favorite. How could it not be? The third story was previously published, and I'd read it before, so I didn't reread. But I also remember that one as being a lovely story. I could happily spend more time in Marysburg and the school setting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Olivia Dade has become one of my very favorite authors writing contemporary romance, and this new collection of Marysburg stories only reaffirmed that status. The collection features one completely new work, and two stories previously published in other anthologies with slight modifications. Individual reviews of the works below. Sweetest in the Gale One of my favorite subgenres of romance is decent people being decent, and whenever I find an author who does this, I put them on my mental list with Olivia Dade has become one of my very favorite authors writing contemporary romance, and this new collection of Marysburg stories only reaffirmed that status. The collection features one completely new work, and two stories previously published in other anthologies with slight modifications. Individual reviews of the works below. Sweetest in the Gale One of my favorite subgenres of romance is decent people being decent, and whenever I find an author who does this, I put them on my mental list with a great big gold star. And this whole Marysburg Cinematic Universe, that's exactly what I'm looking for. These aren't big stories. They're stories about grief and life and finding your place and they're not about 20 year olds and I just value them SO MUCH. Candy and Griff's separate and together journeys through their grief really touched me, especially since I have been continuously working through my own grief about losing my grandmother two years ago. In these COVID times, those feelings have become even more complicated. And seeing the different stages of grief on the page, it meant a lot to me. And I loved the background matchmaker principal and the discussion of poetry--I always mean to read more poetry and then I never do. I am vaguely hopeful of taking the list that they put together in the book and doing some exploration. All of this was just very quietly lovely. I went to pretty good schools, but man, I wish I had been able to go to Marysburg High. What a beautiful look at what education could and should be, and at the people who are responsible for it. Unraveled I previously reviewed this entry here, and I don't have a great deal else to say because I remained utterly charmed by the murder dioramas, but the epilogue? That may be my new favorite in romance novel proposal ever. I don't even know what to say about how perfect it was. Cover Me Due to subject matter, I was not able to read this story. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ivy Deluca

    I’m going to attempt something that I’ve rarely done because it’s not really in me. To be succinct. Mini-reviews, one sentence (!) each. Am I going to abuse the comma? Absolutely. Let’s go. Sweetest in the Gale: Even while focusing on the loss of a loved one (whether a partner or biological family), Ms. Dade managed to make this a lovely, uplifting and ultimately, emotionally satisfying romance between two colleagues that started this anthology off right. Unraveled: Previously released novella th I’m going to attempt something that I’ve rarely done because it’s not really in me. To be succinct. Mini-reviews, one sentence (!) each. Am I going to abuse the comma? Absolutely. Let’s go. Sweetest in the Gale: Even while focusing on the loss of a loved one (whether a partner or biological family), Ms. Dade managed to make this a lovely, uplifting and ultimately, emotionally satisfying romance between two colleagues that started this anthology off right. Unraveled: Previously released novella that I thoroughly enjoyed before (but on re-read loved even more) also featuring two colleagues who, on the surface, are polar opposites, but still manages to find love through murder dioramas. Cover Me: Longtime friends dive into a marriage of convenience when the heroine discovers a lump in her breast, this is the novella that I hesitated in reading because cancer but happy I did because it’s so very, very, sweet, hopeful, and sexily satisfying. The Bottom Line: All of these novellas will stay with me in varying ways, and I’m so happy I read them. Bonus - I read the first few pages of Spoiler Alert, and now it’ll be even harder NOT to crack that book open right away. If you’re looking for an author who can give you fat rep with sensitivity, as well as romance with heat AND heart, look no further - I don’t hesitate to recommend Ms. Dade’s books. **purchased** For more reviews, visit

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maida

    Oh, my heart. Why am I so late in discovering Olivia Dade? She writes so beautifully and so intelligently. I laughed, sighed, and cried while reading these novellas. I loved the fat rep, the age rep (MCs are late 40s), and the sensitive handling of grief and illness. These stories are smart and lovely and I can't wait to read more of Ms. Dade’s books. Oh, my heart. Why am I so late in discovering Olivia Dade? She writes so beautifully and so intelligently. I laughed, sighed, and cried while reading these novellas. I loved the fat rep, the age rep (MCs are late 40s), and the sensitive handling of grief and illness. These stories are smart and lovely and I can't wait to read more of Ms. Dade’s books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    Sweetest in the Gale is an anthology of novellas by Olivia Dade, all set in her fictional Marysburg. Each of the stories is lovely. The first and the third ripped my heart out for different reasons. In Teach Me, Dade introduced us to Candy Albright, an English teacher and Force to be Reckoned With. In “Sweetest in the Gale,” fellow Marysburg High English teacher, Griff has noticed Candy, but his grief for the death of his wife has disconnected him from other people. Since that first Marysburg High Sweetest in the Gale is an anthology of novellas by Olivia Dade, all set in her fictional Marysburg. Each of the stories is lovely. The first and the third ripped my heart out for different reasons. In Teach Me, Dade introduced us to Candy Albright, an English teacher and Force to be Reckoned With. In “Sweetest in the Gale,” fellow Marysburg High English teacher, Griff has noticed Candy, but his grief for the death of his wife has disconnected him from other people. Since that first Marysburg High School faculty meeting, almost a year ago, the sight of her marching down the hall, all martial intensity and unshakeable confidence, had heartened him, even on his worst days. She cared about so much. Students and colleagues and stories and language. She was a constant reminder that determination and belief still existed in his world. He notices when she reappears after the Summer break considerably diminished. The dynamics of their relationship change as her emotional retreat draws him out of his own protective shell. Grief recognizes grief. I love the way Griff considers Candy through the lens of literature and poetry. Griff advances and retreats back into life, afraid to love again but also unwilling to allow Candy to suffer her grief unsupported. It’s a lovely and quiet romance between two fully adult people with all the baggage and wisdom of a life lived. I fear I have made it sound more somber than it is. Candy and Griff are also quite funny as he winds her up about her many decided opinions. The second story, “Unraveled” is also featured in the anthology He’s Come Undone, which you should immediately run out and buy. Now. Do it. Simon is asked to mentor the new Marysburg High art teacher, Poppy Wick. Poppy is not new to teaching, just the school. Everything about Poppy rubs Simon the wrong way – she is messy and casual. Simon is neat and tightly wound. He judges her by his own standards, gets everything wrong and has the rug pulled out from under him. Simon is also a fair person, so realizing he has badly misjudged Poppy, he sets out to observe her as she is and not according to his own narrow definitions. He is fascinated. Everything about her, from her murder dioramas to her professional competence to their shared love of teaching teens unravels Simon’s certainty and creates room for him to fall in love. Again, this is a lovely story of two competent adults falling in love without a lot of drama, but with tremendous insight into how our minds and hearts work. Simon and Poppy are opposites in many ways, but they share a core of values that form the foundation of their relationship. The final short story, “Cover Me” gutted me for different reasons than “Sweetest in the Gale.” Elizabeth and James have been friends for over twenty years, all through his disastrous marriage and recovery from his divorce. They have been content as friends. Their romance is jumpstarted when Elizabeth is diagnosed with breast cancer at a moment when she is uninsured. James insists they marry so that she can be covered by his insurance. Access to affordable healthcare and employment based health insurance are things about which I have strong feelings. I know too many people, myself included, who have not sought needed care because they couldn’t afford it. I have friends who have married when they didn’t necessarily want to so that they or their partner could have health insurance. When my mom was diagnosed with bone cancer it was only the unusualness of her diagnosis that allowed her to receive treatment. If it weren’t incredibly rare for a 60 year old woman to be diagnosed with osteo sarcoma, she would have died within a year and painfully. Fortunately, the cancer center that studied her case covered her palliative care. So yes, I read this story with tears streaming down my face. Elizabeth and James had loved each other as friends, but never allowed themselves to consider further than that. Once he sees marriage as the solution to Elizabeth’s need, he is all in and forever on the marriage. He gives himself permission to fall in love. James is a champion cuddler, which also got me in my feelings, because I haven’t hugged anyone since early March and I miss it. Elizabeth doesn’t need much of a push to fall in love with the man she’s loved as a friend for decades. Lets get the people who don’t support universal healthcare out of office and work on rebuilding a society where we don’t go broke taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. Sweetest in the Gale has three lovely, soft and snugly love stories about adults. The paperback edition is out now and the ebook is out July 30th. I received an arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    nick (the infinite limits of love)

    Three lovely stories from Olivia Dade. This is an author who never ceases to charm me with her words.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Oh, did I love this collection of contemporary romance novellas. Olivia Dade's Marysburg stories are so kind and thoughtful, funny and compassionate and deeply grounded in reality (but with a lovely sense of hope). In this collection, two of the stories deal with really serious subjects (in one case, grief; in another, a breast cancer diagnosis) and treat them with the depth and gravity that those topics deserve, but they are also filled with warmth and kindness, moments of fabulous humor, and a Oh, did I love this collection of contemporary romance novellas. Olivia Dade's Marysburg stories are so kind and thoughtful, funny and compassionate and deeply grounded in reality (but with a lovely sense of hope). In this collection, two of the stories deal with really serious subjects (in one case, grief; in another, a breast cancer diagnosis) and treat them with the depth and gravity that those topics deserve, but they are also filled with warmth and kindness, moments of fabulous humor, and an underlying message of hope that feels entirely earned. In both cases, the issue feels grounded and utterly real, but the novella itself isn't depressing at all - it's beautiful. In "Sweetest in the Gale," two English teachers who've both faced shattering losses fall in love over poetry (and now I want to look up every single poem they quote on their way into happiness); in "Cover Me," two old friends enter into a marriage of convenience for the sake of health insurance after a terrifying diagnosis, but they stay married and fight it through because they've ALWAYS been perfect for each other, and their journey is an absolute delight. I'd already read the second novella from this book (and loved it) when it was first published in the multi-author anthology He's Come Undone, so I already knew that "Unraveled" was hilarious, quirky, and adorable (and would have been happy just to re-read it), but this edition adds an epilogue to that novella that's just perfect for both characters, funny and sweet and a real gift. Each of these three novellas is a standalone story, but they all work really well together, like a series of hugs from a deeply practical and smart friend. I'm so glad I got to read this book early. I know it'll be a comfort re-read in the future.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    Overall: 3.5 stars "Sweetest in the Gale": 3 stars "Unraveled": 4.5 stars "Cover Me": 3 stars This is a collection of 3 stories, and while I enjoyed them all, the second one "Unraveled" was definitely my favourite. The relationship between the main characters felt a little more dynamic because it was an opposites attract situation, rather than the very sweet and safe friends to lovers romances of the other two novellas. The overall more light-hearted tone of book two appealed to me more than "Sweete Overall: 3.5 stars "Sweetest in the Gale": 3 stars "Unraveled": 4.5 stars "Cover Me": 3 stars This is a collection of 3 stories, and while I enjoyed them all, the second one "Unraveled" was definitely my favourite. The relationship between the main characters felt a little more dynamic because it was an opposites attract situation, rather than the very sweet and safe friends to lovers romances of the other two novellas. The overall more light-hearted tone of book two appealed to me more than "Sweetest in the Gale" and "Cover Me", which were a little more melancholy and dealt with issues like grief, ill health and money issues. But all three of the novellas were well written and well paced, and I appreciate the direction the author takes with her characters. I LOVE that they are all curvy heroines, and the cover artwork is gorgeous. And while, at 24, I don't necessarily relate to the older characters (all are in their mid/late 40s), it makes for a nice change and I can see why it would be really appealing for many romance readers who are in that same age demographic as the characters she writes. Overall although I didn't necessarily connect super strongly to any of the characters, I enjoyed this a lot and would definitely read more from this author in the future!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luz Trevino

    Sweetest in the Gale Overall rating: 4 stars Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three very sweet novellas. The first one is Sweetest in the Gale. This one tells the story of of Candy and Griff. They are two English teachers that find each other through the loss of a loved one. They discover in each other a love that is worth having again. I really liked how it was told from his POV only. Second story is Unraveled. This is the story of Simon and Poppy. These two couldn't be more different. It wa Sweetest in the Gale Overall rating: 4 stars Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three very sweet novellas. The first one is Sweetest in the Gale. This one tells the story of of Candy and Griff. They are two English teachers that find each other through the loss of a loved one. They discover in each other a love that is worth having again. I really liked how it was told from his POV only. Second story is Unraveled. This is the story of Simon and Poppy. These two couldn't be more different. It was an opposites attract trope. I loved how they complemented each other and loved how Poppy expressed her artistic talent through dioramas that asked the viewer to solve a murder. Simon really learned that it's not wise to judge someone by their appearance. Poppy proved him wrong many times. These were my favorite scenes. This one is also told in his POV only. Third story is Cover Me. This is the story of two longtime friends who decide to have a marriage of convenience to help Elizabeth with her insurance. I really couldn't connect with this one. It does deal with a very serious matter of breast cancer. I liked how the process of getting tested was explained but I feel that the romance between James and Elizabeth was a little lacking. This one has a dual POV. Overall the three stories were entertaining and I loved how each one of them the MCs were in their 40's. An ARC was provided by the author/publisher for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    b.andherbooks

    4 stars for the "Sweetest in the Gale" story. I read "Unraveled" in the He's Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (5 Stars). I am saving "Covered" for when I'm feeling more emotionally ready to read a story with cancer. This cover! Olivia has really been inspiring me, both with her talent and her way of taking care of her characters. Both Candy and Griff are grieving, in very different ways. Griff, becoming aware that the woman he knew as the stern yet vivacious leader is utterly without spark as the 4 stars for the "Sweetest in the Gale" story. I read "Unraveled" in the He's Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (5 Stars). I am saving "Covered" for when I'm feeling more emotionally ready to read a story with cancer. This cover! Olivia has really been inspiring me, both with her talent and her way of taking care of her characters. Both Candy and Griff are grieving, in very different ways. Griff, becoming aware that the woman he knew as the stern yet vivacious leader is utterly without spark as the new school year begins, and falling for her as they grow closer, has to contend with what that means for his grief about his beloved wife. Told entirely from Griff's POV this was poignant, a bit tough to read, and super sweet.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    What a gem of a book. One of the best novella collections I have ever read. And I did so in one sitting. Dade's romances are a rallying cry to be more empathetic, more socially aware and more confident in your own skin! I felt empowered by these lovely people finding their heart- mates amidst grief and illness and their own uncertainty. Wonderful! What a gem of a book. One of the best novella collections I have ever read. And I did so in one sitting. Dade's romances are a rallying cry to be more empathetic, more socially aware and more confident in your own skin! I felt empowered by these lovely people finding their heart- mates amidst grief and illness and their own uncertainty. Wonderful!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alvina

    TW: story 1 grief, story 3 health crisis Tags: Older couple romance Sweetest: 3/5 This is in the hero’s POV, I found it just a little bit difficult to follow the timeline and his train of thought but that’s probably because I wasnt fully engaged. This is a story about grief and I was reading in public, you know how it goes. Hardcore sex no problem, but give me emotions and I’m a public embarrassment . It's introspective and twee. Unraveled: 5/5 Another hero POV. This dude is all logic and delicious TW: story 1 grief, story 3 health crisis Tags: Older couple romance Sweetest: 3/5 This is in the hero’s POV, I found it just a little bit difficult to follow the timeline and his train of thought but that’s probably because I wasnt fully engaged. This is a story about grief and I was reading in public, you know how it goes. Hardcore sex no problem, but give me emotions and I’m a public embarrassment . It's introspective and twee. Unraveled: 5/5 Another hero POV. This dude is all logic and deliciously starchy because you know you’re going to see him unravel (heh). I’m a sucker for the Spock / McCoy dynamic and this was right up my alley. Very sexy, very cute. Cover Me: 5/5 Sometimes contemporary romance could happen anywhere. This story is painfully American, due to the heartbreaking politics surrounding Healthcare. It’s almost unfathomable that someone needs to get married to get care. Because of the subject, while it wasnt my kind of escapist romance, it was still powerfully romantic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    I love love LOVE this short story collection! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down until I was finished. All three stories made me cry and laugh, but Unraveled was just. UGH. I would have loved an entire novel of Simon and Poppy. I am a sucker for Hero Falls First, and BONUS he's also incredibly straight-laced and proper, a gorgeous contrast to how colorful and lively the heroine is. Poppy was whimsical without being unrealistically twee, and I loved them both. All three stories are worth r I love love LOVE this short story collection! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down until I was finished. All three stories made me cry and laugh, but Unraveled was just. UGH. I would have loved an entire novel of Simon and Poppy. I am a sucker for Hero Falls First, and BONUS he's also incredibly straight-laced and proper, a gorgeous contrast to how colorful and lively the heroine is. Poppy was whimsical without being unrealistically twee, and I loved them both. All three stories are worth reading, however, and all of them deal with trauma or grief in a realistic, sweet, gentle, and affirming way. It also helps that the teachers in these stories - Simon, Poppy, Griff, and Candy - are all excellent examples of the type of teacher I remember from my high school life, and the type which I strive to be: kind, understanding, open-minded and loving to all of their students. Every teacher-student interaction in the book fills my heart with joy. To top it off, the setting is a fictional town in Central VA, which is where I was born and grew up, so I could almost smell the air when the autumn leaves were described. It was wonderful to be transported home, even for just a little while. I'll definitely be reading this one again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This is one collection where I didn't feel shortchanged by any of the stories, which is refreshing and speaks to Dade's skill. There were a couple places where I had to reread something because it seemed like a sentence was missing or a paragraph didn't go with the next, but that was the biggest quibble. Note to self: one of the stories contains an aneurysm plot This is one collection where I didn't feel shortchanged by any of the stories, which is refreshing and speaks to Dade's skill. There were a couple places where I had to reread something because it seemed like a sentence was missing or a paragraph didn't go with the next, but that was the biggest quibble. Note to self: one of the stories contains an aneurysm plot

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three short stories. The first, Sweetest in the Gale, is a new release while the other two, Unraveled and Cover Me, were previously published in other anthologies. They’ve since been edited, and Unraveled has a new epilogue. This is book three in the Marysburg series. ⁣ ⁣ I tend to shy away from novellas/short stories because they don’t quite do it for me in the character development area, but that is not the case with these stories! Once again, Olivia Dade Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three short stories. The first, Sweetest in the Gale, is a new release while the other two, Unraveled and Cover Me, were previously published in other anthologies. They’ve since been edited, and Unraveled has a new epilogue. This is book three in the Marysburg series. ⁣ ⁣ I tend to shy away from novellas/short stories because they don’t quite do it for me in the character development area, but that is not the case with these stories! Once again, Olivia Dade has both charmed and blown me away with her characters. They are imperfectly perfect and I was invested in all three couples. ⁣ ⁣ Olivia writes fat representation in a way I rarely encounter, where size is part of the character description and the characters are loved for their shape but it’s not THE story. I also love the way her characters communicate and that lack of or inability to communicate is never the conflict in the story. ⁣ ⁣ Unraveled is a “he comes undone” trope while Cover Me is a marriage of convenience. They’re quick and lovely stories. Sweetest in the Gale is slightly longer, and delves into some deeper themes (CW: drug addiction, loss of a loved one). I don’t want to include any spoilers, so I’ll just say that the way Olivia writes the story of Griff and Candy was a revelation for me. ⁣ ⁣ I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone! Past characters make an appearance but there’s nothing lost if you haven’t read Teach Me and/or 40-Love (but if you haven’t you’re missing out!). Thank you to Olivia Dade for this eARC!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of short stories set in the same “world” as her previous Marysburg books, one new and two previously published and lightly edited. However, just as her novels stand on their own, these stories are great stand-alone pieces, and could serve as a great entry point into Olivia Dade’s writing, just as much as they would please fans who’ve read her other work. In signature Olivia Dade fashion, the stories combine humor with heart, tackling tough topics with a light Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of short stories set in the same “world” as her previous Marysburg books, one new and two previously published and lightly edited. However, just as her novels stand on their own, these stories are great stand-alone pieces, and could serve as a great entry point into Olivia Dade’s writing, just as much as they would please fans who’ve read her other work. In signature Olivia Dade fashion, the stories combine humor with heart, tackling tough topics with a light touch. “Sweetest in the Gale” 5 stars I love the tender way this story conveys grief, with both Candy and Griff navigating through it as individuals, while a project at work throws them together. I love how sweet and understanding they are of one another, paving the way for them to slowly enter a relationship as a couple. “Unraveled” 4.5 stars I don’t have much to say I didn’t already say when I reviewed this in its original form in He’s Come Undone. However, I love the edition of the epilogue and how it feels like a natural conclusion/“afterward” to the story, and not something tacked on for convention’s sake. “Cover Me” 5 stars Perhaps the most heartwarming, I loved how it combined my favorite trope friends to lovers with marriage of convenience, a trope I know I like, but rarely can think of titles that stand out that fit the trope. I love that James wanted to marry his best friend to ensure Elizabeth had access to insurance to cover the care she needed, and how it eventually grew into more for both of them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    For some reason I hadn't read Olivia Dade until this year which is a tragedy. The good news is that I have a back catalog to sink my teeth into. Because her writing just works for me. It's emotional and funny and she effortlessly mixes the serious and the comedic. All this to say, I loved Sweetest in the Gale. It's comprised of three novellas ("Sweetest in the Gale," "Unraveled," and "Cover Me"). The title story is a new one, the other two have been previously published in anthologies--I'd read For some reason I hadn't read Olivia Dade until this year which is a tragedy. The good news is that I have a back catalog to sink my teeth into. Because her writing just works for me. It's emotional and funny and she effortlessly mixes the serious and the comedic. All this to say, I loved Sweetest in the Gale. It's comprised of three novellas ("Sweetest in the Gale," "Unraveled," and "Cover Me"). The title story is a new one, the other two have been previously published in anthologies--I'd read "Unraveled" but not "Cover Me." The first two take place in Marysburg High School, where we get a glimpse of Tess Dunn (from 40-Love) who apparently likes to play matchmaker. I was almost disappointed when Tess wasn't a uniting force in the third story. "Unraveled" also has a wonderful new epilogue. There are serious themes in all three. "Unraveled," which features murder dioramas, is actually the lightest. "Sweetest in the Gale" features two English teachers dealing with different stages of grief, while also making time to have flirt arguments. "Cover Me" deals with a cancer diagnosis, loss of insurance, and the loss of a parent. It's the shortest story and I could have spent way more time with those two. So, yeah, loved it. Made me feel a whole variety of feelings. Go get it. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    A.A.B

    This title fits the book rather well. I appreciated that the characters were all over 40. The stories were very loosely connected by location and the school where some of the characters worked or used to work. Two of the stories had intimacy scenes, which were completely gratuitous for the stories' characters - these are adults who can be trusted to figure each other's anatomy without the author needing to spell it out. Moreover, the psychological hangups they'd be facing would need much more at This title fits the book rather well. I appreciated that the characters were all over 40. The stories were very loosely connected by location and the school where some of the characters worked or used to work. Two of the stories had intimacy scenes, which were completely gratuitous for the stories' characters - these are adults who can be trusted to figure each other's anatomy without the author needing to spell it out. Moreover, the psychological hangups they'd be facing would need much more attention and care, so it felt like wasted story space. And that's also the reason why I can't rate this book higher: the characters are said to be over 40, but they don't consistently read as such. Most characters are interesting and likable enough (the besotted "mentor" notwithstanding - that was a harassment case that needed to happen, although the author did attempt a save at the last moment, I hoped that save would have happened much sooner), and I wanted the author to treat them better: To write more depth and self knowledge into them. There is some of that, but it felt unsure, like the author heard what it is supposed to be like, but isn't sure and has no first hand experience of it. Less sex and more substance would have brought this to 5* easily.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate W

    I thought I wouldn't enjoy shorter stories because they would feel rushed. I only learned about Olivia Dade last month, and this was the only book left of hers that I hadn't read (apart from the unavailable titles - sob!). So I was desperate. But I did enjoy it! The first story didn't feel rushed at all, but what I noticed about the first two stories is that they don't have much or any narration from the women in the stories. So they're more like objects of desire rather than autonomous subjects I thought I wouldn't enjoy shorter stories because they would feel rushed. I only learned about Olivia Dade last month, and this was the only book left of hers that I hadn't read (apart from the unavailable titles - sob!). So I was desperate. But I did enjoy it! The first story didn't feel rushed at all, but what I noticed about the first two stories is that they don't have much or any narration from the women in the stories. So they're more like objects of desire rather than autonomous subjects. BUT that itself is quite fresh in this case because they're fat and over 40 and competent AF, which are not qualities the male gaze typically desires. So that was delightful. But I finished wondering if it wouldn't be nicer to have them as full-length books with both characters' perspectives? The third story, while lovely, did feel rushed to me. It had both the man and woman's perspectives in the narration, which was nice to have, but time skipped quickly, and I would have enjoyed the story more if time had slowed down. Anyways, I do love Olivia Dade's work, and I'll take whatever I can get, and these stories were a pleasure to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    Olivia Dade has been fast climbing my list of favorite authors. Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three novellas set in the town of Marysburg, mostly centered around teachers at Marysburg High. All three of the stories were very well written and full of emotion. Every book in this series has really tugged on my heartstrings. I love that Dade's characters tend to be regular everyday people. She includes characters that range in age and size. I am always impressed with the way she handles co Olivia Dade has been fast climbing my list of favorite authors. Sweetest in the Gale is a collection of three novellas set in the town of Marysburg, mostly centered around teachers at Marysburg High. All three of the stories were very well written and full of emotion. Every book in this series has really tugged on my heartstrings. I love that Dade's characters tend to be regular everyday people. She includes characters that range in age and size. I am always impressed with the way she handles communication and consent which make for some really amazing love scenes. All of the stories dealt with some serious emotional issues that the couples helped each other though. In Sweetest in the Gale both has suffered the loss of someone dear to them, in Unraveled both were unsure of the capacity to love and be loved, and in Cover Me they tackled fear of allowing themselves to be vulnerable and accept help. Overall this was a great collection and as always I look forward to reading more from Olivia Dade.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Actually 4.5. Love this 3 story collection so much. Plus size rep, and older couples. Olivia Dade is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Sweetest in the Gale- The story of Candy and Griff. 5 stars. I loved Candy in the book Teach Me and she did not disappoint with Griff. Their story was so sweet. Beautifully told story involving grief. I just wished it was longer. Unraveled- The story of Simon and Poppy. 4.5 stars. Super steamy. I love a buttoned up hero falling for the quirky girl. There's somet Actually 4.5. Love this 3 story collection so much. Plus size rep, and older couples. Olivia Dade is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Sweetest in the Gale- The story of Candy and Griff. 5 stars. I loved Candy in the book Teach Me and she did not disappoint with Griff. Their story was so sweet. Beautifully told story involving grief. I just wished it was longer. Unraveled- The story of Simon and Poppy. 4.5 stars. Super steamy. I love a buttoned up hero falling for the quirky girl. There's something sexy about it. Just wanted it to be longer. Cover Me- The story of Elizabeth and James. 4 stars. I loved how breast cancer was interwoven in the story, but I had a hard time connecting with Elizabeth and James as couple. It was super sweet, and I think it could have built up better if the story was longer. Overall, this loved all three of these novellas and I wanted all of them to be longer. But each was surprisingly well developed for how short they each were.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a trio of novellas from Olivia Dade. The title story is new, while the other two have appeared in other anthologies. If you’re already a fan of Dade, you’ll love this collection. If you’re new to her work, get ready for a treat. All of the hallmarks of Dade’s writing are here: real adult characters who deal with real life and real problems while exhibiting intelligence, humor, and goodness. Her heroes are sweet cinnamon rolls. Her heroines are grown women with full lives. None of her cha This is a trio of novellas from Olivia Dade. The title story is new, while the other two have appeared in other anthologies. If you’re already a fan of Dade, you’ll love this collection. If you’re new to her work, get ready for a treat. All of the hallmarks of Dade’s writing are here: real adult characters who deal with real life and real problems while exhibiting intelligence, humor, and goodness. Her heroes are sweet cinnamon rolls. Her heroines are grown women with full lives. None of her characters are perfect; instead they are genuinely flawed people trying their best. I don’t think I have ever finished one Dade’s stories without a smile on my face. These three novellas are no exception. Disclosure: I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cutler

    A touching collection of novellas in Olivia Dade's signature style: 1) couples who are older, have beautiful and often larger bodies that mirror the idiosyncrasies of real actual people, 2) heroines who are fierce on the outside and total marshmallows in need of love on the inside, and 3) heroes who are gentle and pay close, loving attention to the details of the heroine in a way that is so tender and wonderful to read about. The first story is a closed bedroom door romance between two English te A touching collection of novellas in Olivia Dade's signature style: 1) couples who are older, have beautiful and often larger bodies that mirror the idiosyncrasies of real actual people, 2) heroines who are fierce on the outside and total marshmallows in need of love on the inside, and 3) heroes who are gentle and pay close, loving attention to the details of the heroine in a way that is so tender and wonderful to read about. The first story is a closed bedroom door romance between two English teachers both in their own stages of grief. The second story is one that appears in the novella collection HE'S COME UNDONE and features a heroine who creates murder dioramas. Which is totally cool. And the third features a heroine who finds a lump in her breast that might be cancer. It was beautifully written. Well, they all were. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    The first novella (novelette? I can never remember) in this is a really deftly done and light touch on the beginning romance of two people both dealing with different types of grief, while the second is a very opposites attract story of two teachers in their 40s. Both were delightful, and featured Dade's usual great line in delightful fat women protagonists - I also loved the matter-of-factness of Poppy's bisexuality. The third is a married-for-health-insurance longtime friends with hidden pinin The first novella (novelette? I can never remember) in this is a really deftly done and light touch on the beginning romance of two people both dealing with different types of grief, while the second is a very opposites attract story of two teachers in their 40s. Both were delightful, and featured Dade's usual great line in delightful fat women protagonists - I also loved the matter-of-factness of Poppy's bisexuality. The third is a married-for-health-insurance longtime friends with hidden pining, which I had read previously elsewhere and thought was very good. (cw for death of a family member (/accidental overdose), death of a spouse in the first story, and cw for cancer in the last.)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    All of the novellas in Sweetest in the Gale had their moments and something to recommend them. Meditations on grief and guilt, political commentary on healthcare and how a lack affects real people, and how to speak your truth and apologize and forgive. I also love how Dade features characters who are older (in this case well into their forties), with life experiences that have had positive and negative impacts on them, finding love and meaningful relationships. It consistently warms my heart. Si All of the novellas in Sweetest in the Gale had their moments and something to recommend them. Meditations on grief and guilt, political commentary on healthcare and how a lack affects real people, and how to speak your truth and apologize and forgive. I also love how Dade features characters who are older (in this case well into their forties), with life experiences that have had positive and negative impacts on them, finding love and meaningful relationships. It consistently warms my heart. Side note: I have loved the cover art (and in this case inside art) for every book in this series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kait

    This collection of short stories is perfect. Angsty, sweet, sexy, empowering—it’s the embodiment of all the best things that romance can be. Each story walked that balance between being something i could lose myself in and being relatable. That’s a HARD line and speaks to Dade’s talent, high is unmistakeable in 3 VERY different but equally incredible stories. I’m fairly new to this author and can’t wait to devour her entire back list. My heart feels full and a bit more whole after this collection This collection of short stories is perfect. Angsty, sweet, sexy, empowering—it’s the embodiment of all the best things that romance can be. Each story walked that balance between being something i could lose myself in and being relatable. That’s a HARD line and speaks to Dade’s talent, high is unmistakeable in 3 VERY different but equally incredible stories. I’m fairly new to this author and can’t wait to devour her entire back list. My heart feels full and a bit more whole after this collection. I love when art helps us heal.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Candy + Griff - 3 stars This one was fine. The romance felt the most developed, but I wasn’t blown away by it. Poppy + Simon - 2 stars I could not get into this one no matter how hard I tried. Certain passages describing Poppy’s interests made me feel physical ill and it felt like they barely knew each other to be risking their careers like that in the last two chapters. Elizabeth + James - 4 stars I really feel like this story could have been expanded to a full book with more pining, and I would h Candy + Griff - 3 stars This one was fine. The romance felt the most developed, but I wasn’t blown away by it. Poppy + Simon - 2 stars I could not get into this one no matter how hard I tried. Certain passages describing Poppy’s interests made me feel physical ill and it felt like they barely knew each other to be risking their careers like that in the last two chapters. Elizabeth + James - 4 stars I really feel like this story could have been expanded to a full book with more pining, and I would have given it 5 stars. Also, I was so glad to see the male love interest was fat too!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Kristick

    Excellent ollection of short romances set in the same world as 40-Love and Teach Me Excellent ollection of short romances set in the same world as 40-Love and Teach Me

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