Way Down Deep
Have you ever received a text from a wrong number? Have you ever sent a text to the wrong number? The resulting conversation can be hilarious or humiliating, possibly both. This book explores what could happen if a man sends a text he doesn’t believe will ever be answered. Then he receives an answer, though not from the recipient originally intended.
Way Down Deep is a quirky little epistolary novel, told in the form of text messages from one stranger to another. (Don’t worry; The texts are grammatically correct. There are no “wut r u doin” passages. That would have driven me batty.)
I wasn’t sure it would be a gimmick that would work, even though I enjoy books by both Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein. I was pleasantly surprised though, at how each character’s essence is developed and conveyed throughout their conversations. Both protagonists have some serious stuff to work through, but each manages to help the other stretch their boundaries and grow personally. They don’t automatically fix one another. It’s a gradual process, at times heartbreaking and painful given their backstories.
It may take the reader a few chapters to sink into the book, but the second half really takes off. Once the reader learns the details of the hero and heroine’s lives (and names are part of the revelation, so I won’t disclose them here), their individual stories and how they can fit together becomes intriguing. By the time they settled into their conversational rhythm, I was hooked. They’re flirty and serious by turn, and it works because both of the book’s authors have a strong ear for dialogue.
The principals have real, difficult barriers to being together; she as an agoraphobic who hasn’t left the house in years, he as a new dad of a traumatized little boy. And the black moment, that point of no return, had my heart breaking, thinking all really was lost this time. But rest assured, the story ends well with an ending that made me catch my breath, then sigh happily.
All in all, this is a must read for lovers of epistolary romance with an update for the modern age. There are difficult moments, such as when each character reveals what brought them to this place in time. And there are joyous, small victories, for instance, when the heroine opens her window and feels the rain on her hand. I recommend taking a few hours one afternoon and getting to know this unconventional couple in their unique way.