There’s a huge amount going for Mila Ferrera’s fresh and absorbing novel Spiral. But, shallow thought it may be to admit, chief among them is the fact that the love-interest is glaringly based on the tall hunk of man-candy that is True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard. Yes. Shhh. I don’t want to know if it’s not meant to be him. Our heroine’s guy, Dr Aron Lindstrom, is tall, he’s slender, he’s sexy, he’s Swedish. Now I’m not usually one to fangirl out and start posting pictures of who would, like, totally be cast in the movie of an NA novel. But – A-Skars. I once saw him striding, Adonis-like down a street in New York, turned to my companion to exclaim ‘OMFG, did you just see—’ Then realised I was with my lov-er-ly boyfriend. Love you boo. You’re my A-Skars. Etc etc. Phew. Anyway. Back to Spiral…
Nessa Cavenaugh is on her way to becoming a fully-qualified psychologist, interning in a busy city hospital – a refreshingly intelligent, busy, motivated central character for an NA book – when she meets slightly-cute with aforementioned Viking-with-a-PHD, Aron. They begin a sexy but tentative relationship that is, at first, mildly plagued by gratifyingly plausible issues such as ‘I’m waay too busy to get into a relationship’ and ‘I’m scared of getting hurt’, rather than the artificial obstacles that can so often be forced into stories like this.
But where Spiral really comes into it’s own is in Ferrera’s exploration of the mind as an unsafe space – something that can turn on you, medically, emotionally. Can you trust love to be real? Can you trust your partner’s feelings, when you can’t walk around inside their mind? What if it’s a dangerous place? I found the intrusion of these difficulties on Nessa and Aron’s relationship was sensitively and persuasively handled. They gave a certain dark, bitter-sweetness to their love and their sexual relationship that added complexities to an already captivating story. In addition to this, the hospital setting allows for emotional subplots – with Aron being a paediatric oncologist, and Nessa working a psych rotation on that ward, there are bound to be some heartstrings tugged. It all feels genuine and well-researched, which surely belies some experience in these matters on Ferrera’s part. A highly recommended, well-written, hearty one for the gut.
Plus – A-Skars.
Cringe Factor 2/5
Is it Hot in Here? 3.5/5
For the Love of Feminism! 4/5
Overall Tasty Goodness 4/5