Series: Movie Magic 02
Author: Tara Lain
Length: Novel (218 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (26 Nov 2019)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts
Blurb: In his neighborhood, El Martin stands out, and that can be life-threatening. Against the odds, he’s managed to graduate high school and then master IT. Now he’s desperate to get a good job to free his drunken dad and himself from the control of gang leader M2 and the drugs he sells. But with his piercings and his slang-ridden speech, El looks and sounds like a Bronx gangbanger, and potential employers won’t give him a second look. So when El hears about Henry Fairhaven, PhD, linguistics researcher and wealthy New York socialite, El takes his life in his hands to escape from M2 and ends up sleeping in the stairwell at Henry’s building, hoping to learn how to speak.
To Henry, who wants to prove himself as a scholar and not merely a rich dilettante, El isn’t only the most beautiful man he’s ever seen—he’s also the key to getting a paper published on Henry’s ground-breaking linguistics methods before a competitor beats him to the punch. But Henry doesn’t tell El the truth, and El thinks Henry’s helping him because he cares.
El’s dreams collide with Henry’s ambitions at the elegant Met Gala, where El captivates a prince of Silicon Valley. But the real collision comes when M2 tracks El down and Henry has to choose between the validation he craves and a future with the man he’s come to love.
Review: Love and Linguistics is the second novel in Tara Lain’s Move Magic series. This works as a standalone book, since there is no plot or characters that join the two books together. I think why it is part of the same series is a rather tenuous connection where the characters in the first book love movies and talk about them, while in this book we have direct reference to My Fair Lady. Doesn’t matter, regardless, it is an enjoyable book.
As I said, this is very much a modern take on the classic movie, My Fair Lady, to the point even the character who is the benefactor acknowledges he needs a Miss Eliza Doolittle. For those that aren’t familiar with the movie – Henry Higgins, a wealthy man from high society, who happens to be a phonetics professor finds a rather unpolished woman who a low (i.e. poorer) social class. He teaches her how to talk, walk and dress like a “proper lady” and presents her to society.
It just so happens that in this book, Miss Doolittle is in fact a Mr Doolittle.
El (Elijah) Martin is a young man who has grown up in the slums of the Bronx, with a father who is alcoholic and now gang leader is adding drugs to his addiction. El is smart, he finished high school and has done community courses in IT, which he has excelled at. On paper he isn’t a bad prospect for an employer, but in person he looks and sounds like the same dangerous gang members he longs to get away from. At a job interview this is explained to him and he is given the card of one of the most successful linguistics researcher in New York. El doesn’t have the money to pay but he’s desperate to get out of the current hell that his life is becoming.
It takes a lot for El to finally make the move to get help from Henry Fairhaven. Henry is young, only thirty, but he is much more mature for his age and sometimes to me comes across as being much closer to forty. He comes from a rich family of socialites, which coupled with his chosen career is probably part of the reason why he is so mature. Henry also wants to beat one of his rivals in linguistics (and on the social scene) and when El comes in with enthusiasm to change but no money, Henry sees the “Miss Doolittle” that he needs to prove that his developed methodology of linguistics and social training works. So, Henry, with the help of his assistant and a friend who was one of his successes, takes El under his wing and readily foots the bill for everything and has El staying in his home because El has nowhere else to go.
The only snag is that El doesn’t know that he is the subject what is intended to become a research paper. At first he is told he has a sort of scholarship, and then as he and Henry get closer he believes it is out of friendship. Henry and El fight their attraction from the start – or more accurately, Henry fights their attraction because he doesn’t like the ethical implications of being involved with a client/student.
However, things come to a head at the Met Gala, the ball that is El’s graduation. Not only does the full truth come out, but El’s life is also in danger. Both Henry and El need to face up to certain truths or else there is not going to be a chance of a HEA for them.