The Harvest of Reason is definitely NOT your typical IR book- and that for me is a really good thing. Instead of focusing on how big a guy’s “package” is or creating unbelievable scenarios and sprinkling in sex scenes, this book focuses on the developing relationship between Maddie (a black woman) and John (a white man), both of whom are PhD candidates.
In the opening chapters of the book, you see that Maddie has already formed a negative opinion of John based on his reputation as a “ladies man” and her own hidden insecurities. Despite the fact she is an intelligent woman, she still suffers from moments of doubt about her skills as a scientist and feelings she can’t quite describe each time she gets near John.
As for John, he was intrigued by Maddie from the moment he laid eyes on her, and couldn’t understand why she held him in such disdain.
Once Maddie and John began interacting, both had a profound effect on one another. Particularly interesting was John’s maturation. He realized that character, intelligence and values are more important than good looks (although Maddie had all these aspects). Maddie also realized that she had been too judgmental and presumptuous with John. She had almost missed an opportunity to be with a good man.
I called this a Cerebral Romance because it touches on some pretty heavy topics. There is racism, sexism, and egoism. The author does not try to gloss over the racial differences between Maddie and John. The author also gets really into the scientific subplot. Now, either I am really into agriculture or Rhea Harmsen is a good writer, because the scientific journey Maddie experienced was downright interesting. I never knew the hard, back breaking work that scientists go through.
At the core of this book were two people who found each other and developed a relationship. They did not fall into bed after the first meeting. In fact there is no sex in this book, which may disappoint some. They learned about one another and discovered that they wanted to be life partners. That’s pretty deep and something that is sorely lacking in your typical romance story.
It would have been nice to have an epilogue that gave a peek into what happened to Maddie and John once they got married, but that’s a small complaint.
Kudos to Rhea Harmsen.