Published by Independent on October 10th 2013
She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet, Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin. Despite both of their attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in love. Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and all its complexities.
THE DRAKE EQUATION was equal parts fascinating and frustrating for me. Unlike any typical romance novel out on the market at the moment it relies on the art of conversation rather than the unspoken smouldering glances to develop the romance and in doing so created a character driven novel that was emotionally and intellectually compelling yet lacking the drive and pace I would expect to keep me turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Emily is a driven, type A democrat who works for Geoforce, a not for profit environmental organisation whose singular focus is highlighting the destructive effects of SUV’s on the environment and campaigning for their removal from the roads of America. At the annual fundraiser Emily crosses paths with Robert, equally driven but on the other side in every way, Republican and working for one of the SUV manufacturing companies that Emily loathes. Despite their obvious differences and a tense exchange both are left with the same feeling, that there’s something more there…
THE DRAKE EQUATION takes place over a period of months as the two come together periodically to debate their differences and the evils of politics and its effects on the environment. Their romance develops throughout these meetings and it reminded me of an old style romance, the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant using their sharp wit and art for conversation to reel the other person in rather than overt gestures of romance. It was all very proper and intellectual and did fascinate me.
Because the book is mainly dialogue between the two I have to commend Walsh on her ability to make the reader feel almost like an eavesdropper on these two falling in love. It was almost like sitting on a train straining to hear the conversation of the couple behind you because you forgot a book and are craving entertainment. What? I’m the only one who does that?? In saying that at times I did wish the two would simply shut up. Their conversations given their standings on either side of the political divide meant they did go round in circles at times and Emily’s idealism was suffocating at times. I think if Robert had been given his own POV I would have been less frustrated with the book, I liked how he tempered Emily’s over zealous nature and given the titbits about his life we are fed I would have loved to know more about him and less about Emily’s politics.
Well written, intelligent and overall very interesting, THE DRAKE EQUATION was a fascinating look at some of the other challenges faced by 20-somethings’ as they dip their toes into the dating pool and navigate the murky waters before finding their port in the storm.