Crossed Lines by J.T. Marsh is a bold romance about a familiar, and controversial, relationship – the male high school student and his older female teacher. Seventeen-year-old Keith has a relationship with a Spanish teacher twice his age. When they meet up again ten years later, their present entanglements make their relationship all the more difficult, and soon realize their love and obsession comes with a dangerous price.
Written more to the literary side of romance, there is ample space given to character development and internal dialogue, which is one of the book’s major selling points. The novel is as much about the consequences of love as it is the romance, so the book will appeal to readers beyond the confines of the genre. Still, it is most certainly a romance novel at its core.
Though the emphasis on character development is laudatory, there are a few editorial issues that do mar the read. Described as a “non-linear narrative,” the book jumps back in forth in time, which is supposed to convey the timelessness of the characters’ attachment, but also tends to get confusing. There are also grammatical errors peppered throughout the novel, and paragraphs that go on for pages at a time.
Underneath those errors is a good romance with a good premise, which doesn’t shy away from the more-questionable aspects of its topic. It’s fearless in this regard, but not offputting, as Marsh dives into many facets of this illicit relationship. Overall, there is also a lot of good writing in the novel, it just needs a bit of cleaning up to be a fully satisfying read.