Desert Isle Keeper
The Professor's Green Card Marriage
Beware of judging a book by its title. Had I listened to my inner book snob, I would not have read Heidi Cullinan’s beautiful romance The Professor’s Green Card Marriage. I had passed over the novel a few times because I believed the clunky title to be too literal and uninspired for my tastes. But, between the novel’s intriguing synopsis and my enjoyment of Cullinan’s Let It Snow (Minnesota Christmas, #1), I decided to give the book a chance. And, I am very glad that I did. A distinctly unique queer romance, TPGCM offers a moving portrayal of a romantic relationship involving a special needs protagonist that touches the heart and uplifts the soul.
Twentysomething barista Peter Grunberg has a crush on the handsome middle-aged professor who frequents the Colorado coffee shop where he works. Unfortunately, Peter can only admire the man he fancies from afar. His selective mutism (SM), a severe anxiety disorder, renders him unable to speak in social situations. When Peter learns that Ukrainian professor Dr. Valentyn ‘Val’ Shevchenko must marry a U.S. citizen in order to stay in the country, he musters the courage to propose marriage. Val is touched and extremely flattered that the cute guy who makes the best lattes would commit to a marriage of convenience with him. Even though Val has reservations about entering into a fake relationship and defrauding the government, his fear of returning to homophobic Ukraine trumps his concerns.
As Peter and Val become acquainted through emails, texts, and carefully planned face-to-face dates, the engaged twosome develop a genuinely intimate connection, and their ‘fakeship’ soon becomes the real deal. While their newfound love is certain, their future together isn’t. Between Peter’s verbal communication challenges and Val’s personal demons, the men fear failing their immigration marriage interview. Now that they’ve found each other, their worst nightmare is to be torn apart.
Heidi Cullinan masterfully crafts sympathetic, well-drawn protagonists who exemplify #relationshipgoals. Stepping into the roles of caring and generous mates comes naturally to Peter and Val. They are true sweethearts. Val patiently learns and obeys the ‘rules’ of Peter’s selective mutism so that they can comfortably talk to each other, while Peter works hard to expand his comfort zone to include Val. He is fiercely determined to overcome whatever SM hurdles he must so that Val can stay safe and happy.
The affection between Peter and Val is palpable on the page, with TPGCM containing plenty of #awww #myheartisfull moments that readers will find gratifying. Even their sizzling lovemaking is based less on lust and more on a mutual desire to feel cherished. As Peter and Val allow themselves to become more open and vulnerable, the couple falls irrevocably in love. And, with every romantic gesture, sweet text, candid email, and Ukrainian term of endearment exchanged between the lovers, I fell head over heels for them.
Not only did I swoon over Cullinan’s romance protagonists, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the author utilizes current affairs and a little-known psychiatric condition to create an unputdownable, rather suspenseful read.
Cullinan explores the fascinating complexities and management of selective mutism, U.S. immigration laws, the green card marriage interview process, environmental issues, and the dangers faced by the LGBTQ community in present day Ukraine. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a timely novel of any genre that has taught me something new and interesting. How wonderful to be entertained and educated!
The Professor’s Green Card Marriage tells the story of two lonely people who find the courage to claim the love that they deserve. Cullinan’s superb LGBTQ romance is a must-read to add to your permanent collection.
Buy it at: Amazon or shop at your local independent bookstore
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|Review Date:||April 5, 2020|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
|Review Tags:||anxiety | coffee | Colorado | disability | environmentalism | immigrant | Male/Male romance | Queer romance|
Annd this is right up my alley. To the TBR pile!
Ugh, you guys don’t seem to care if my TBR list ever gets any smaller. This sounds perfect!
What’s this about the author not getting paid though?
You can find it all over Twitter – Dreamspinner owes lots of their authors a LOT of money in royalties. I saw TJ Klune post they owe him over $40,000. It’s been going on for a while, and DSP are trying to deny it, and promising to pay people -and then aren’t. We’re not talking one author here – it’s lots. Things I’ve read suggest that they ARE paying some of their authors – their bigger names – but the vast majority are owed money, and this has been going on for months, if not longer.
Thanks for the clarification.
Oof! I had heard about Dreamspinner but somehow had a brain fart thinking DSP was a totally different publisher. Either way, yikes! I hope this gets resolved soon. It seems like writers are always the first to be screwed from every direction…
It’s been going on for quite a while and there’s no end in sight. I honestly don’t know how they’re still in business.
I liked the sound of this one when I saw it was coming out – I’m glad you enjoyed it. (But I’ve decided not to read or review DSP books until they start paying their authors).
I made the same decision.
I feel like I’ve hear her speak out about DSP, too. I’m guessing this was already in the pipeline and she couldn’t pull it.
I think she could have pulled it – others like TJ Klune and Roan Parrish have pulled their books, I think, Jay Hogan did as well. From what I’m seeing DSP are paying some of their authors, the bigger names, and shafring all the others. None of what they’re doing is right, and playing favourites less so.