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Sweetest in the Gale

Sweetest in the Gale

by Olivia Dade


3 stories + 3 couples = 6 lonely hearts finding happily-ever-after at last.

“Sweetest in the Gale”: Much ado about love…

Candy Albright has always stomped confidently through the halls of Marysburg High, passionate and loud and entirely devoted to her students and her various English department initiatives. From his first day as her colleague, Griff Conover couldn’t look away, despite his best efforts.

After a summer apart, though, Candy returns to school a changed woman. Muted. Dimmed. Bowed by a grief Griff recognizes all too well, but doesn’t yet understand. And when they’re thrown together to coordinate a poetry project, he can’t resist the urge to read between her lines once and for all–even if doing so means he’ll have to confront his own loss…and his own lonely, longing heart.

“Unraveled”: The more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels…

Math teacher Simon Burnham–cool, calm, controlled–can’t abide problems with no good solution. Which makes his current work assignment, mentoring art teacher Poppy Wick, nothing short of torture. She’s warm but sharp. Chaotic but meticulous. Simultaneously the most frustrating and most alluring woman he’s ever known. And in her free time, she makes murder dioramas. Murder dioramas, for heaven’s sake. But the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels–and despite his best efforts, he soon finds himself attempting to solve three separate mysteries: a murder in miniature, the unexplained disappearance of a colleague…and the unexpected theft of his cold, cold heart.

“Cover Me”: First comes marriage…

Elizabeth Stone has no health insurance. No savings. No one to turn to when she finds a lump on her breast…except James Magnusson, her friend of over twenty years. When he offers her a marriage of convenience for healthcare coverage, she’d be a fool to say no. But given the emotions she’s buried for so long, saying yes might lead to a broken heart.

James won’t take no for an answer. Not when marriage could save Elizabeth’s life, and not when he’s finally realized how much he needs her. Even during his doomed first marriage, James considered Elizabeth a special friend–one he had to keep at a safe distance. Now he’s free, and Elizabeth is his wife…but will they finally have the chance to be together, only to have everything torn apart?

Content guidance for “Cover Me”: This story contains discussions of breast cancer, an on-page mammogram and biopsy, and a definite happily-ever-after.

This book contains one entirely new story (“Sweetest in the Gale”) and two stories previously published in the He’s Come Undone and Rogue Acts anthologies. The latter stories have been lightly edited since their original publication, and “Unraveled” has a new epilogue.


I knew I wanted to read this book not only because Olivia Dade is amazing but because Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poems and “Sweetest in the Gale” is a line from that.

I already read and reviewed Unraveled in He’s Come Undone but there’s an added ending in this book that you should check out! And honestly, it’s a beautiful story about a tightly wound math teacher and the new free-spirit art teacher he falls for. Bonus, there’s murder dioramas!

Sweetest in the Gale is a poignant story of love and healing. The heroine,Candy, has long been my favorite side character in the Marysburg series and is an English teacher with vibrant initiatives such as the infamous “The monster isn’t Frankenstein” puppet show. Griff is her fellow English teacher and widower who is surprised by his attraction to her but doesn’t act on it. However, when the new school year starts and Candy returns a shell of herself, a poetry project they are working on together becomes the scene of both of their healing. Grief and the healing process as well as poetry are at the forefront of this story. Olivia Dade does a phenomenal job capturing this is in a short story and using poetry to really dig into those feelings. This story made me cry and then smile through my tears.

Cover Me was in the Rogue Acts anthology but this was my first time reading it. Honestly, this story was rough for me for personal reasons and do not ignore the content warnings for breast cancer. This is a marriage of convenience story between lifelong friends, Elizabeth and James. However, this is probably the most realistic marriage of convenience story in today’s world where Elizabeth marries James for medical insurance. While this is the initial reason, they quickly realize that there is so much more to their relationship. This is a story of love and unfailing support and is exactly what is needed when dealing with the difficult issues Elizabeth faces.

*Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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