Louisa Edwards knows how to write an enjoyable, addictive, and modern romance... with a twist.
I don't think I have ever read a book like this one. It was definitely a good read but I reckon a reader needs to have an open mind to fully enjoy Edwards' work. While Edwards writes an engaging love story between a male chef and a female journalist in New York City, she also meaningfully portrays a male homosexual relationship. The characters are well formed, the plot twists (though, admittedly, the twists are sometimes expected), and there's even a madman with a gun. I couldn't help thinking of Mathew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta Jones in No Reservations as I read through the book - Edwards creates a literary equivalent of these films.
When I was reading Can't Stand the Heat I began to think back to the last time I read a work of fiction that involved a homosexual relationship of some form. I'm pretty sure that there must have been a homosexual relationship in at least one of the many many books I have read over the years. But as I search through my memory I can't think of any examples. Even homosexual secondary characters in books, characters that were hardly mentioned in a plotline, are hard for me to recall (probably because they were minor characters themselves). I do remember Bridget Jones' Diary mentioning a homosexual male best friend... but I only remember this because of the Hollywood film. I suppose Brokeback Mountain exists in fictive form as well.
On the other hand, or maybe just because I'm an optimist, I reckon that these books do exist... I just haven't encountered one while in the local libraries or bookstores (and, admittedly, I haven't searched for them). Now, after thinking about it, I wonder if it is one of those elusive book genres where you have to know specific titles and put in pre-orders?
The thought that the public is exposed to reading material that is heterosexist and does not reflect diverse experiences is troublesome for me. In fact, while I have thought about representations of gender I have never really considered how sexual orientations are portrayed in novels until now. Reading Can't Stand the Heat made me ponder how popular fiction portrays sexual orientations and reflects societal ideals.