Ship Wrecked (2022) by Olivia Dade, is the third and final book in the series that began with Spoiler Alert (2020) and All the Feels (2021), with characters drawn from the fictional television series Gods of the Gates. It is undeniably and deliciously fat positive!
Unusual for most romance novels, Dade begins mid-intercourse between the two main characters, Peter and Maria, who have just met and are having a satisfying one-night stand. Yet it’s a slow-burn!
Peter is a fat actor who has primarily been cast in character roles, but he lands a role in an existing show to play a viking stranded on an island, who is both a love interest and a hero. Maria is also fat, newly in Los Angeles from Sweden, new to television, and it surprises both of them, when the day after their one night together, they are cast together to play in Gods of the Gates. Now they might have to work together for years, with a very small crew, and Peter knows better than to get involved with a co-worker, even though he longs to have more time with Maria.
Maria wonders why fat actors have been cast, and within a season or two, she finds out, and finds out whether she can count on Peter to support her through the showrunner’s anti-fat decisions. They become good friends, the kind that affectionately call each other skitstovel (Swedish for shit-boot), and when the show is over, they finally get to be together again. But will Peter’s taciturn nature be enough for Maria, who is affectionate and demonstrative with her Swedish family? (She was adopted as a teenager after her parents both died.) And will Peter grow to depend on her as he hasn’t been able to depend on anyone since his mother died?
Dade does such a good job with her characters’ backstories–how their pasts affect their current personalities and choices with relationships, and how they grow from their hurts. I loved how she placed an anti-fat obstacle in front of the characters, and they reacted with fat liberation and fat positivity.
And I got a lovely perk for my pre-order, check out this book-jacket in the style of 1980’s romances!
I so look forward to anything else Dade writes and will be working my way through some of her backlist in 2023.