Friday, September 20, 2019

The Evolution of Love by Philip William Stover

When a charming but misguided account manager gets stuck on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands with his hunky zoologist ex, he might rediscover his true passion—in and out of the bedroom.

After art school, Mike Davis gave up on his dream in favor of a stable job. But when he gets an opportunity to teach wealthy travelers how to paint stunning sunsets, it seems like the perfect break. Until he finds out he’ll be sharing a suite with his ex, charismatic Benton Aldridge—a British scientist cuter than the baby animals he studies. Mike makes it clear he has no intention of getting back together with Benton, but sharing a suite makes it almost impossible keep his distance.

As they climb over volcanic peaks and swim with manatees through sparkling jade-colored water, can they also heal past wounds and take the next step in the evolution of love?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is a sweet, gentle romance. With most of the story taking place on a genteel cruise ship, the book feels like something from a more gracious time and place. Think Agatha Christie without the murders.

This story is told from Mike’s point of view. An artist who has shelved his dreams for corporate job security, he is gently coerced into teaching art classes on a cruise. What he doesn’t know is that his ex-boyfriend will be the cruise’s resident wildlife expert. The Mike we meet at the start is a little grey, a little bland, and he seems to be lacking a personality. In contrast, Benton is all charm and charisma – and he fulfils every stereotype Americans seem to have of Brits.

I really enjoyed Mike’s journey and the way he grows into himself in this book. However, I still have a few reservations about Benton. I had to roll my eyes at most of Benton’s ‘British’ affectations and more importantly, I really hated his controlling streak. Surely if he truly loved Mike, he’d attempt to understand Mike’s very valid reasons for choosing a secure job. He isn’t all bad though, and by the end of the story, Benton’s charm (and a few other attributes) did finally win my admiration. This is a dignified, low heat read and although Mike and Benton are supposed to be quite young characters, their voices feel formal and quite dated at times. Neither character feels like a believable Millennial and they didn’t quite come to life for me in this story.

While I enjoyed the story, I didn’t always enjoy the writing style. A good edit would have tightened both the pacing and the story arc – as it is, I quickly grew weary of the many passages itemising the mundane details of Mike’s life.

Philip William Stover splits his time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and New York City. He has an MFA in writing and is a clinical professor at New York University. As a freelance journalist, his essays and reviews have appeared in Newsday, the Forward, the Tony Awards, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and other national publications. For many years he ghosted for an international best-selling women’s fiction author. He has published multiple middle-grade novels for Simon & Schuster and was the American Theater critic for

He grew up tearing the covers off the romance novels he devoured so he wouldn’t get teased at school. Now he enjoys traveling the world with his husband of over twenty years and would never consider defacing any of the books he loves.

He can be found on social media as Philip William Stover.

Connect with Philip

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Evolution of Love by Philip William Stover to read and review.

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