Paper Love, Jae's latest f/f romance, is set in southwestern Germany, in the Black Forest area famous for that decadent cake. It's a book firmly set in place, with attention given to architectural, cultural, and culinary distinctions. When I looked up the city after reading the book, the images were very much like I had imagined, with cobbled streets and little man-made streams (Bächle) in the middle of the walks.
For all this charm, however, Susanne doesn't choose to go to Freiburg. She quits her job as a successful business consultant due to misogyny in the workplace, and then her mother tells her to go to Freiburg and help her uncle with his floundering stationary shop, Paper Love. She agrees to a three-month period, at the end of which the shop will either be saved or will need to close.
When she arrives at the shop, Susanne is greeted not by her uncle, but by his sole full-time employee, Anja. Anja is immediately on guard, seeing Susanne's all-business attitude as a threat. Surely, this uptight suited woman is here to fire Anja from the only job she's ever loved, right?
What follows is one of Jae's signature slow-burn romances, with characters who change and grow on their own and together. They first forge a working relationship, then a friendship, and finally a romantic relationship. It's quite lovely in a way that's both realistic (Anja has her period the first time they consider having sex) and a little bit magical (Susanne steps in a Bachle her first day in Freiburg, which legend says means she will marry a local).
Beyond this, I can recommend Paper Love's bisexual rep. Anja is bisexual, as is Susanne's twin sister. It's handled without biphobia or microagressions. I felt right at home as a bisexual reader.
Lastly, the book has an "R" rating because there are a couple of on-page sex scenes, but there's no violence, and those scenes are near the end and easy to skip if that's something you need to do.
Suzanne borrowed this book from Hoopla via her library.