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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Something True by Karelia Stetz-Waters

Remember how I said I wanted to try to break out of my rut this year? No? Maybe I just thought it? Anyway, today's book, Something True by Karelia Stetz-Waters is both completely familiar and completely different- it's a romance, but it's not a traditional romance, in this one it's two women who meet and fall in love.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I feel much the same way about the romance as I do any other romance I read- it had similar strengths and flaws. What I didn't expect was to be so pleased to have a new source of conflict that you'd never get in a traditional romance (perhaps my reading rut is deeper than I thought?)

Here's the summary from Amazon:
Tate Grafton has a tough exterior, but underneath she's kind, caring, and fiercely loyal. That's why she first started working at Out in Portland Coffee-it was her way of repaying the shop's owner for taking her in as a homeless teenager. Nine years later, the coffee shop is floundering and Tate feels like she's letting life pass her by . . . until she shares an unforgettable night with a beautiful stranger. When the mysterious woman disappears the next morning, Tate doesn't even know her name. 

Laura Enfield was supposed to be in Portland for only a few days-just long enough to oversee a simple business deal before joining her conservative father on his political campaign. But when the closeted Laura romances an employee of the coffee shop her company is shutting down, things get suddenly complicated. Now, the lies she's told for years are beginning to unravel, and her biggest secret is about to be exposed. Laura can't stop thinking about the barista with the soulful eyes, but after a lifetime of deception, can she finally embrace something true?

Now before I start I feel like I should get this out of the way- I am not gay. I don't pretend to begin to understand the emotional complexities and serious dangers of being gay and coming out, let alone in the very public way it is in this novel. I support gay rights and I believe in marriage equality. I am not "squicked out" by the idea of reading a gay romance. I don't expect that anyone who reads my blog would be, but if you do keep your comments polite or I'll just delete them.

On with the book! I'll start with Tate. Tate is out. She works at a coffee shop that proudly declares it and her friends are unashamedly out. She's given her entire life to the owner of the shop for rescuing her as a teenager, and she feels insanely guilty for not enjoying her tiny studio apartment and her lack of a life more. She's always the one who gets dumped, even tho she seems to have no real flaws. Despite all this, she's really the heart of the story. She's so loyal and determined to put everyone else first. She's got a bit of a white knight complex, and is determined to save everyone else even if it brings heartbreak to herself.

Laura has spent her entire life hiding what she is. Her father is a successful politician at a very high level from the Deep South, and coming out has never been an option.  Laura has decided that it's time to take a risk and since she lives on the road nearly full time she decides that while she's in a new city  that this is the time. She walks into Out in Portland and all but invites Tate to join her at the gay bar, which Tate does, and then she "lets" Tate take her home. Laura sneaks out early the next morning, intending never to see Tate again. She's not so much scared for herself, but she knows that it'll sink her father's future if she comes out.

Did the romance work? Well, the attraction was certainly there. Even I have a crush on Tate now. These two really struck a cord with each other and you could feel both their attraction and their vulnerabilities. I loved that. What didn't work for me, and what rarely works for me in a traditional romance either, is that the entire book takes place in a week or two. It felt so rushed. I'm not completely convinced in Laura and Tate's Happily Ever After, which is the one thing I'm always expecting in a romance. There are some really great scenes where the emotion just shines through- in the Palm Springs house, Tate and her bike on the bridge, Laura in the bar with her coworkers (if you've read it) and some parts that are just too much ( I could have done without the entire side story of Krystal and her father, and Laura's SUV adventure.)

Overall, still very satisfying and it was terrific to have a new source of conflict in a romance (ie, if your partner isn't out.) I wouldn't recommend this to just anyone, even tho it isn't particularly racy and there's really no shock value to it, but I would recommend it to anyone who isn't threatened by two women falling in love.

Something True came out on January 13, 2015.

1 comment:

  1. This one sounds good. I've been reading more LGBT fiction and I think this would be fit that.


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