Rosie Danan’s second novel, The Intimacy Experiment is out today! We absolutely adored this one! Check out our 5 STAR review now!
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
Rating: 5 STARS
The Intimacy Experiment absolutely owns me! This is a companion novel to The Roommate, so we know Naomi from the start. She’s a tough woman, who has built some pretty tough walls around herself. Our hero is Ethan. We meet him very early on, and he’s an absolute cinnamon roll.
There were several things that I loved about this novel. This is a great example of romance novels doing serious emotional work in the story. While the plot of The Intimacy Experiment does have an outside issue, the progression of the plot happens through character development.
In The Roommate, we meet Naomi, and she’s intimidating as hell. She’s a former adult film star and ex to Josh Darling. She doesn’t fall into the stereotypical cliche of ex-lover, though, and it’s so refreshing. She comes to really appreciate Clara, and they become extremely close when they all go into business together.
The Intimacy Experiment opens with Naomi wanting to teach sex education in a classroom environment, but no one wants to hire her. After a particularly impassioned speech at a workshop, she’s approached by a very handsome man with a teaching opportunity.
Cue the awkwardness…
He’s a Rabbi and wants Naomi to teach a Modern Intimacy class for his synagogue. He believes this will help draw in new membership and provide an alternative form of outreach. At first, Naomi doesn’t take him up on his offer, but with some nudging from Clara, she eventually says yes.
It doesn’t hurt that Ethan is extremely hot, but obviously off-limits. Of course, we all know how those forbidden fruit situations work, don’t we?
Throughout the novel, Naomi and Ethan work through their emotional baggage, and following the syllabus for Modern Intimacy, they have open discussions about their wants and needs in a relationship.
One thing I absolutely adore about this book is the open communication. Sure, there’s a slip-up early on about Naomi playing matchmaker for Ethan, but it doesn’t last. This novel is truly about them getting together and loving each other for who they are. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There’s such beauty in it.
Danan wraps this all around their shared religion and how they’ve made their way back to it. It feels authentic and earnest without being overbearing. Ethan is such a great hero in this novel, and he adores Naomi for everything she is, and he doesn’t hold anything against her.
I loved that Naomi was able to reclaim her stolen youth when she returned back to her high school toward the end of the novel. It was a true full circle moment for her, and it was executed perfectly. The way she finished the lecture series there was incredible. I cried because I felt like she was finally getting that release from her past, but also for that one girl crying in the audience. The idea that someone needed to hear what she was saying was this amazing insert for the reader to take those words in and hold them in their heart.
As for the chemistry between Naomi and Ethan? It’s off the freaking charts! I don’t know how she did it, but my gawd, the build-up for them was sexy as hell. I love how she had the intimacy between them not only be sex either. When they finally got together, though? FIREWORKS. These were some of the most on-fire sex scenes I’ve read in a while.
The Intimacy Experiment is amazing, and I truly hope you give it a read!
Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.
Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.
Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.
Thank you so much to Berkley Books for the advanced copy of this novel!