Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Mr. Darcy is the preeminent romantic hero in the same class as your Edward Cullen, Mr. Rochester, and Noah Calhoun. Most romantic heroes pull from some aspect of these heroes (along with others), and that connection makes romance readers fall for these heroic types. To a certain degree, Meghan Quinn’s newest workplace romance, See Me After Class, borrows from this tradition, offering a story that steals your heart. Her hero, Arlo Turner, is a modern-day Darcy, a seemingly pompous, staid, traditional teacher who becomes “bewitched” by the new teacher in school, Greer Gibson. Borrowing the same themes about pride and prejudice as hindrances to seeing the real person, See Me After Class is a delightful read that leaves you swooning for Quinn’s couple.
What is there to absolutely adore about this story?
What’s not to love about an all alliterative heroine? Greer is that every woman heroine. She is young to Arlo’s thirty-two. She is the borderline Gen Z challenge to his older millennial persona. And he detests her youth and approach to teaching. Greer takes this in stride, showing her strength and sense of empathy, and this is what endears you to her. I love that Greer is willing to go toe-to-toe with Arlo because the man needs some shaking up. And Greer…she does that well. Quinn offers my favorite type of heroine in her construction of Greer.
Secondly, there is a cadre of characters in this story that offer up so many laughs. There is a clear connection to Brentwood University and Quinn’s baseball players in the form of Gunnar and Romeo, who act as a comedic buffer of sorts to Arlo’s buttoned-up hero. Add in Stella as Greer probably closest gal, the one who keeps it a little silly but has a serious streak too. Cora is Arlo’s sister, but his voice of reason. She is the impetus for his self-reflection as she battles through her own issues. I am hoping desperately that Quinn crafts a story for her because she deserves it (Stella too). And my favorite (after Greer and Arlo) is Keiko or “Keeks” for shore. Oh, how I adore Keiko as that unusual voice of reason who is more honest than society actually allows, but we love her for it anyway. When you read a Quinn romance, you want to befriend these fictional characters because she makes them feel real and vital. This is also very true of See Me After Class.
Thirdly, the true genius of this story is the allusion to Pride and Prejudice and Quinn’s parallelism to that story, not only in her characterizations but also in some of the actual writing. I’m a HUGE P&P fan, so it gives me goosebumps when a writer such as Quinn does this well. Honestly, her final lines in this book give you goosebumps and feel so replete in their execution. On finishing the story ten minutes ago, I”m already nostalgic for this story and its writing.
Lastly, I adore Arlo. Arlo is Mr. Darcy, to an extent. There were moments in the early part of the book where I was like Greer and wanted to reach into the book and throttle the man. But any romance reader knows that curmudgeonly heroes fall hard. I love the journey that Quinn has created for him as she interrogates the idea of intimacy in relationships. She mixes up his incredibly alpha tendencies of control with a soft underbelly of fear and emotion. For me, this makes for the best possible heroic combination. For all the initial feelings of frustration for him, I left this story so sated by his characterization.
Every Meghan Quinn book honestly surprises me. I’m not sure why because she has the ability to write about the human condition in a way that makes you laugh from your belly and shed tears for her characters. See Me After Class is a delectable romp of a workplace romance with some serious love-hate tension between her hero and heroine. After the tension clears, and the chemistry is set to high, the story becomes this magical place to reside in for an afternoon. It’s a perfect reminder of why we love to read love.
In love and romance,