Home Book Reviews Review: Way Down Deep by Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein
Monday, 12 June 2017 18:37

Review: Way Down Deep by Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein

Written by Jennifer Porter
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WaydownDeepWay Down Deep by Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein (erotic, self published, June 2017)


An erotic romance…told entirely through text messages.


The words he typed were never meant to be read, yet they found their way to her. Two wounded strangers, prisoners of their own lives, brought together by a wayward text.


Without ever hearing each other’s voices, a friendship blooms between them. Without ever seeing each other’s faces, an attraction grows. Without ever touching, the two become lovers.


But when words suddenly aren’t enough, will this bond be able to tear down the walls that keep them apart…or was it only ever fantasy?


So, a story told entirely in texts . . . . this didn’t really seem like a viable plot for a romance. However, given that the book, Way Down Deep, was written by Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein, I HAD to read it; my curiosity was palpable. I had to know. And McKenna and Stein did indeed write a romance in which its main characters communicate entirely in texts messages. The two main characters never meet face to face. I would have sworn that there was no way this would ever work, but these two authors pulled it off, telling a powerful and emotionally wrought romance that pulled me into its web very early on.



Malcolm and Maya are two very lonely and broken people, each dealing with significant life challenges. While drunk one night, Malcolm sends a text message to his dead ex’s cell phone - and surprisingly gets a response. The two begin to text back and forth, getting to know each other even while they keep their names secret (at the beginning). I think the initial anonymity gives both characters a freedom to express themselves in a raw and unfiltered way - in a way that neither one could do with other people in their lives.


Malcolm is in a bad place - an American who has recently moved to England to be with a son he had little-to-no contact with for most of the boy’s life. The son doesn’t speak after having lived through a tragedy that cost him the life of his mother. Malcolm is lost, unsure of himself, unable to communicate with his son, cut off from his life in the States and a bit too fond of alcohol. He is in a dark place, but texts from his new friend provide a needed bright spot in his life.


Maya, on the other hand, has her own issues which have kept her house bound for a long time. She has an awful family tragedy in her background and has become a virtual recluse - even opening her windows has become difficult for her. Maya is the one who wants to keep her identity a secret during their early texts; she is the one who is reluctant to offer her name and become more intimately acquainted.


But Malcolm and Maya do become more intimately acquainted, in what is a very short time (although it doesn’t feel that short while reading). They go quite quickly from sexy, flirty texts to full-out dirty sexting - which was surprisingly effective for developing an intense connection and romance between the two. These sexual texts were hot and revealed the deep-seated  need that both Malcolm and Maya have for a real connection. And I guess this is the part of the story that readers need to buy into in order to believe in the connection that these two are developing.  I found the relationship to be real, honest, raw, painful and intense. In some ways, these two connect on a deeper emotional level because they feel safer with the barrier of electronic communication and reveal more than they might have if they had met in person.


At its core, Way Down Deep is a unique romance which is indeed told entirely in texts. You may ask about the ending; can their be an HEA for two people who have never met? Oddly enough, the ending is where this book really shined for me. It was the make or break point. I would definitely consider the ending and HFN rather than an HEA, but it made me believe in Maya and Malcolm’s romance. I admit that I would love a followup story to Way Down Deep that explores what happens next, but think that McKenna and Stein pulled off something special in this book.


This one may not work for all readers, but Charlotte Stein and Cara McKenna wrote an intensely passionate and painfully open romance between two people who could only have met via text. It isn’t an easy read, but it is unforgettable, thought provoking and romantic.


Cara McKenna: http://caramckenna.com/

Charlotte Stein: http://charlottestein.net/


Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided via NetGalley.

Last modified on Monday, 12 June 2017 18:42
Jennifer Porter

Jennifer Porter

Romance Novel News

Twitter: @JenniferRNN

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