Fact: I hate
romance. For me to tolerate a romance story long enough to read it all the way through takes a near-miracle; I read this one all the way through and liked
The relationship is built up slowly enough to be believable while thankfully never getting into UST
territory, and what's more, it's a healthy
relationship that's built on a foundation of trust and respect. Trust is one of the major themes of the story, and more than one Crowning Moment of Heartwarming
results when Hakoda tells Ursa he trusts her and means it in spite of knowing there are things she's not telling him, and when by doing so he earns her trust in turn. The transition of the relationship from tentative allies to friends to lovers happened smoothly and never felt forced, and the story happily avoids the pitfall of romanticizing unhealthy behaviors - or even having the characters engage in such behaviors - that is all too common in fanfic and professional works alike.
The only real complaint I have is that I find it rather unbelievable that, in the three weeks he spent on a ship with them, Hakoda never found the right moment to tell his children about his new relationship, but that's a fairly minor nitpick. All in all, this story is very well-done and comes highly recommended.