In the new romance Always Her, Alexandra Delancey does an excellent job of evoking the angst and drama of the college lesbian scene. While I don’t necessarily agree with the identity politics of the characters, they do ring true for their milieu. Jack is that elusive object of lesbian desire: the cool butch who tends bar and had led a charmed life free of homophobia. Elise is the perfect wish fulfillment for every dyke who’s ever loved a straight girl: blonde-haired, shy, sweet, and only newly come to terms with her sexuality. The novella does a great job of building tension between the two to the final sex scene, which is most definitely a one-handed read.
I appreciate the time and attention the author puts into portraying Jack and her friends. Descriptions of the intricate concoctions Jack creates as a mixologist, the tattoos and piercings that adorn Christie’s body, and Tatiana’s funky fashion line ground the story in a way that makes the budding romance between Jack and Elise that much more real. And what real-life lesbian love story would be complete without a close-knit circle of dykes and an ex or two in the background?
It’s amusing to see a British author write in an American voice. Delancey pulls it off for the most part, but every once in a while she’ll let slip a word or phrase (“university” instead of “college,” or “sport” instead of “sports”) that betrays her. I chuckled when she replaced the All-American lesbian sport of softball with a soccer pick-up game. I found these little slips rather endearing, though, and I look forward to Delancey’s future efforts.