Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Love Factor” as Want to Read:
The Love Factor
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Love Factor

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  682 ratings  ·  127 reviews
A smart, opposites-attract, student-professor romance filled with nostalgia, edgy politics, and the forbidden thrills of lesbian love in the nineties.
Molly Cook is almost thirty, with dismal career prospects, and has given up on saving the world. It might be the nineties, and everything’s shoulder pads, Doc Martens, and The X-Files, but people won’t budge on gay rights. Mo
Paperback, 215 pages
Published July 15th 2020 by Ylva Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Love Factor, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Love Factor

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  682 ratings  ·  127 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Love Factor
Lex Kent
4.25 Stars. This was lovely. After noticing the very good early reviews, I had some high hopes for this book. I’m happy to say that if anything, this book exceeded my expectations. And what made this all the sweeter was that this is a debut book for Ivins. I’m actually a little shocked that this was a debut. It’s very well written and I didn’t notice any of those newbie bumps that are so common for debuts. If Ivins’ debut is this good, I can only imagine how good her future books could be.

I kne
Jude in the Stars
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve been waiting for this book for what feels like forever. It’s a debut novel but Quinn Ivins has been entertaining me on social media and with her blog for months.

The Love Factor is set in 1997 and 1998, which is both a while ago and not that far in the past. It’s dedicated to “everyone who came out in the 90s”. Hey, that’s me! I came out in 1993. This story isn’t about me, however. At almost thirty, Molly Cook is a PhD student in political science in Maryland. Carmen Vaughn is her statistics
Wow, this was awesome! This was one of the most memorable student-teacher romance stories I've read. But bear in mind that the student is a 29 years old PhD student.
The story is set in 1997. Wow, how time flies! We should not forget that not a long time ago things were a lot harsher for the LGBT community. A lot, lot harsher.
And hey, I'd almost forgotten about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Poor girl. I wonder what happened to her at the end.
Dec 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
A well written debut. I liked the 90’s vibe (not the homophobia though) and the potential problem with the power imbalance between teacher and student is nicely handled.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Molly was an almost thirty year old PhD track student at Maryland University. Carmen Vaughn was a 39 year old tenured political science professor. Molly was out to her friends while Carmen was deeply in the closet. When Molly took Carmen’s advanced statistical research methods graduate class, she excelled. Carmen then offered Molly a TA position for an undergraduate statistics class she taught. While working together, both women strengthened their bond on an intellectual and professional level a ...more
Gaby LezReviewBooks
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review of ‘The Love Factor’ by Quinn Ivins, audiobook narrated by Lori Prince

This was a very good wlw debut novel set in the US in the late 1990s during the time of President Clinton’s impeachment. I haven’t read that many books set in the 90s so I’ve decided to give it a go.

Molly Cook is a Political Science graduate student in the late 90s more interested in feminist and gay rights activism than academic research. Carmen Vaughn is Molly’s statistics professor and a closeted lesbian working in a
The problem with there being so much great lesfic to choose from now is that gems get buried in your "to read" pile and sit there for entirely too long. Such was the case with this impressive debut novel. I love a great romance, and when the story and characters are really smart? Nirvana. A slow burn romance featuring an advanced statistics professor and 30 year old graduate student may seem like it would be appealing only to high brow types, but oh no. Believe me - I get the shakes when difficu ...more
Nov 26, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-gap
This is 3.5 stars for me. I liked it but the romance didn’t start until very late and then kind of came out of nowhere it seemed. I did enjoy reading about intelligent women taking down a homophobic man in the 90’s.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is how it feels to be a lesbian in the 1990s.

It is the 1990s at the time when Ellen Degeneres first came out and Clinton's scandal broke. Molly is a graduate student keen in campus politics. When she discovers evidence of a possible academic fraud committed by a homophobic professor, Molly turns to her statistics professor for help to uncover the truth.

Professor/student romances are my guilty pleasure so I enjoyed this book very much. Carmen is the strict and brilliant statistics professo
Nicely done! 😊 Thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and it was nice to reminisce the 90’s.... not that I can really remember all of it though and also cos I live nowhere near the States.... But that scandal at WH... that I remembered...And psst... I loved Carmen’s character; ice queen, intellectual, femme.. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t right...Ok ok I get it, not everyone would like that but, heck, I do and that’s all that matters 😊

Ratings: 4.25 🤩

Available in Scribd
MG Digby
My rating. 3.75 stars

It was interesting to read a book set in the early 90s. The events and atmosphere of the time is portrayed well, and there was just enough nostalgia to get me invested in the story. I got a kick out of the technology and the fact that nobody has a cell phone. The homophobia and sexism of that time was also represented, but the characters are positive and don’t come off as self-pitying.

It’s not a romance, and the love story goes from 0 to 100 very quickly quite late in the st
Cammy Chareon
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free! The main plot can be summarized with a phrase I’ll borrow from the book – Two brilliant women with amazing chemistry “working together to bring down a lying, cheating homophobe.”

The story is set in 1997. Molly, 30 (29 at the start of the book,) is a promising and tenacious graduate student in the field of political science. She fights for what she believes in. Carmen, 39, is a brilliant professor who is known for being strict and hard to please. C
Hsinju Chen
Due to recession and her activist past, Molly Cook decides to pursue a PhD degree in political science. In advanced statistics by Dr. Carmen Vaughn, an aloof professor with incredibly high standards, Molly shows promising performance. When she stumbles upon a scandal of a homophobic faculty member, Molly seeks guidance from Carmen. The two begin to spend more time working together, and their professional boundaries blurs. But Carmen is closeted and would never get involved with a student. Little ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quinn Ivins has definitely impressed me with her debut novel The Love Factor. For her first novel, she has created a really unique and appealing story set in the late 1990’s during a time of great change for everyone, but especially LGBTQ+ folks.

The book is an age-gap/opposites attract romance between a professor and grad student, so it touches on several romance genres. This novel could almost be considered a historical fiction novel, but I refuse to mark it that way. You see, I’m about the sam
Della B
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Love Factor is the premiere novel by author Quinn Ivins and I hope there will be many more to come. When I set out to write a review I intermittently stop reading to take copious notes, however, after the first few chapters of The Love Factor, I was hooked as an engrossed reader and not a reviewer. I did not want to stop reading.
Molly Cook is an openly lesbian Political Science grad student working on her doctorate at a small town, Republican leaning university.
Carmen Vaughn is a tenured pr
Jan 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
Well, I'm super glad I didn't have to come out in the 1990s, not that I really ever did have a big come out, nor am I in the closet but that's beside the point.

Two smart, queer women in academia taking down a sexist and bigot white male in the 1990s, it's the stuff I live regardless of time period actually. Molly is a grad student in Carmen's statics class, they are polar opposites. I'd call Molly bubbly and outspoken, an activist and super smart, I'm not calling Carmen stupid, she is far from s
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-release
This wasn't what I expected, but it was a brilliant read nevertheless. I found myself not as invested in the romance aspect, but rather in the characters themselves and their cause. This book was my first Ivins read and I'm hooked.

Full review to come
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So I read this one a while ago and decided to read another book, then read this one again. It is really that good. Intelligent women are sexy...add a slow burn romance with a ton of chemistry and you have a book I will reread over and over. While I am not typically a fan of teacher/professor/student relationships, this one was done so well I think Molly and Carmen may be one of my favorite couples. A debut this awesome has me super excited for all the future books I am going to pick up by this a ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Usually, I avoid teacher-student romances, as it's not a trope I like to read. However, after reading good reviews from people here on GR that I trust, decided to give this a go. This story is set in 1997 when Ellen took the huge step of coming out kn her sitcom. I remember the hubbub surrounding this. However, being not woke then, I wasn't very aware of how big an impact this really had. This was also the time of Monica Lewinsky/ Bill Clinton scandal. (Side note: I appreciate the author making ...more
K.J .
Dec 12, 2020 added it
Dear Quinn

I read ‘The Love Factor’ two days ago. I really liked it.

The novel is an excellent blend of reality and fiction. I was such a happy dork when I found your references list at the back of the book. So good. I don’t begin to profess an understanding of US politics. It’s…well, it’s over there. But I really liked the way you wrote this story because you advocate for the intelligence of your readers. The micro and macro of the US political environment from April 1997 to December 1998 is giv
4 stars. One day my social media feed was flooded by this book, and people were singing its praises. Quinn Ivins suddenly was everywhere.

Not sure what I actually expected from this novel set in 1997, but it surely wasn't this. I was pleasantly surprised, especially by the dealing with the topic of misogyny. (1997 was my first year at university and in hindsight I can see how difficult it must have been then for LGBT to come out..)

Former LGBT activist Molly is almost 30, out and proud and a grad
Aj Smith
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Love Factor

I had been looking forward to this book for ages, it promised a lot; nineties nostalgia, an ice-queen, a chance to indulge my geeky side (we get to sit in on a probability lecture) and of course, lesbians! Despite all the build up “The Love Factor” does not disappoint. Our leading ladies are Molly Cook, an idealistic grad student who wants to change the world but is now beginning to think that a career in academia might not really be the way to achieve that, and Carmen Vaughn, her
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book with stories set in academia. It seems to me, teaching at university is challenging, and falling in love with students is really something. But Quinn Ivins amazingly makes this story sound pretty and interesting. This book revolves around Molly Cook as a grad student and teaching assistant, and she's brave enough to fall in love with her professor. And yes the ending was fabulous! ...more
I missed several hours of needed sleep because I fell in love with these two characters and didn't want to interrupt their story. This felt like an authentic flash-back to the nineties. I *love* that there are references at the end. Well-written and lovable characters. I'm looking forward to Ivins' next book. ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are a ton of wonderful reviews about this one and they are all true. While it wasn't a 5 star for me I can say that it was likely a 4.25 star romance. This is Quinn Ivins debut novel and she for sure has promising writing career if she continues to write like this. ...more
Hard work, often felt more lie a lecture than a fun book to read. Full of relevant history, but I stopped half way though, read another and came back to this. Finishing was more of a challenge than a delight.
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqiap, 2021
Man, this was a slooooowww burn sapphic romance. But I absolutely loved the journey this book took me on. Set in 1997-1998, this story follows Carmen, a political science professor, and Molly, a grad student, meeting and beginning to work together to expose the wrongdoings of a homophobe at their university. I was as invested in the plot that was external to the romance as I was with their eventual relationship.

I can see why this romance might not work for everyone. There’s a lot of discussion


It's been so long since I put this book in my to-read shelf that I actually, in the end, went in totally blind. Well, I gethered it had something to do with school because of the cover.

No, I definitely wasn't expecting to be taken on a wild ride through these adorable saphic lives in the '97 and '98. Now I definitely need more books like this one. Please, share them with me if you know some.

I absolutely loved this one. I mean

// ice queen (but actually adorable when the ice
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An age gap/ice queen story set in the late '90s, just after Ellen came out and President Clinton was lying about Monica Lewinsky, both of which I remember very well. Although the teacher/student relationship is a hot button for some, I enjoy these stories as I lived it myself (41 years going strong). Carmen is not only a grade A ice queen, but she's an extremely successful, closeted, college professor who is unable to resist falling for her favorite graduate student (who is 30). But is does unti ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely a interesting look at the nineties and very well developed MC‘s
Molly is a great character and Carmen needed a „Molly“ to be finally herself.
The time of Clinton and Monica...the general attitude towards women..
This is a very well written story and definitely a recommendation.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Never Say Never
  • Perks of Office
  • A Heart to Trust
  • The Fifth Surgeon
  • The X Ingredient
  • Truth and Measure
  • The Headmistress
  • The Awkward Truth
  • Chemistry Lessons
  • The Music and the Mirror
  • Above All Things
  • Chemistry
  • Just a Touch Away
  • Hotel Queens
  • Temptation
  • The Delicate Things We Make
  • The Lily and the Crown
  • A Roll in the Hay
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Quinn Ivins has been addicted to reading romance since she was a teenager, when she stayed up late on school nights to read more X-Files fanfiction. After romance novels, her top vices include sugar, booze, cable news, and country music.

Quinn lives in the southern United States with her wife, their young son, and their adorable cat. When she isn’t working her day job, writing fiction, or chasing h

Related Articles

Fearless readers, gather ’round…   For those with the courage and bandwidth to launch a bold new reading adventure, we’ve put together this...
69 likes · 22 comments
“I'm saying love is a factor. If you really love someone, you accept and embrace who they are.” 0 likes
More quotes…