Before reading Hot Line, I hadn’t looked into the premise of the book. I just knew it was an erotic novella. From the first page, I could guess that the premise would be different from most romance novels/erotica stories I’ve read. (Which is great, because the thing I like least about romance/erotica novels is the repetition.) It begins with Christina (alias Chantal) answering calls at her job at a sex hot line. She gets a call from a woman, Lydia, who just wants to talk. Then, excuse the cliche, Lydia makes her an offer she can’t refuse.
For an erotica story, Hot Line is very much in the characters’ heads. We get a lot of insight into what both of them are thinking, including the awkwardness, hesitation, and double-guessing. Sometimes this could seem like over-explaining, and occasionally they seemed put off by pretty normal things, considering the circumstances. But for the most part, it gave much more characterization and honesty to what I’m used to from an erotic story. There were occasional awkward phrasings, but that could be the translation. (That’s another thing: it’s nice to read a lesfic story not set in the US. Hot Line is based in Germany.) Though, there is a bit of the old romance novel trope of needless angst. Both Christina and Lydia try to convince themselves that they don’t like each other, or that the other person doesn’t feel the same way, when there’s pretty ample evidence for what they feel.
What I was most impressed by in Hot Line is the progression of the relationship. Considering the premise and the length of the story, not to mention the genre, I found their relationship to be much better developed than I was expecting. [Mild/vague spoilers, highlight to read] Weeks pass. They get to know each other. [end spoilers] This is partly because of the novella’s tendency to dwell in their thoughts. It made their relationship more believable and oddly organic (again, considering the premise). The ending is a bit abrupt, but it really gives you all you need. I would recommend Hot Line if you’re intrigued by the premise or are looking for a lesfic novella.
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