What better way to start this adventure than with a lesbian romance novel. But not just any lesbian romance novel. An asexual lesbian romance novel by fan favorite author Jae.
But wait. An asexual romance novel? How would that even work? Well, dear friends, not only does it work, but it’s magical.
Leontyne (Leo) Blake is a pop star who seemingly has it all. But her public persona isn’t the real her. Her fans don’t even know her by her real name.
Leo is just finishing up a tour when she gets a call from her mom telling her that her dad has had a stroke and asking her to come home. When she arrives in her tiny home town, Leo meets Holly Drummond, a nurse who has been helping care for her father at home.
Leo and Holly bump heads at first. As Leo deals with the challenge of trying to communicate with her father, with whom her relationship had already been strained before the stroke make it difficult for him to communicate, she also finds herself frustrated by this stranger who has so seamlessly integrated into her family’s life while she was away.
As they get to know each other better, Leo and Holly find themselves being drawn to each other. But romance is never easy. Leo feels burned out by not only her singing career, but by the lack of intimacy that comes with fame. Holly, who refreshingly isn’t impressed with Leo’s fame at all, has her own reservations about a potential relationship. She has been burned before by women who don’t understand her asexuality. Including at least one ex who made Holly feel broken because of it.
Together, they manage to find something both of them had all but given up on.
I was rather recent to both the genre of lesbian romance novels and identification of my own asexuality when I read this. I had only been reading this genre for a few months when I saw this book on a list of queer novels with asexual representation. But I had read work by Jae before. One of the first lesbian romance books that I ever read was Jae’s Under a Falling Star, which I enjoyed, so I knew that I could at least count on a good, well written story.
What I read was that and so much more. This may be a romance novel, but it doesn’t at all fall into the stereotypical formulas and tropes that romance novels are known for. The writing is wonderfully lovely, as I have since come to expect from the author.
The growth in Leo and Holly’s relationship, as well as Leo’s relationship with her father, is perfectly paced and believable. Relationships, especially those starting at a strained disadvantage, are never easy. Jae doesn’t give her characters any shortcuts. If they want to make it work they have to talk to each other openly and honestly. Even and especially about the most uncomfortable and awkward of subjects.
On the subject of Holly’s asexuality, Jae’s writing shines. Leo (and likely many readers) had never heard of asexuality before meeting Holly. She needs to learn what that means for Holly and for a potential relationship with her. In a series of conversations and experiences, Holly teaches Leo and the reader what the identity means to and for her. The scenes could very easily come across as clinical or textbook-esque. But they don’t at all. Jae manages to weave them into the story in such a way that none of it feels heavy handed.
As a ace lesbian myself, who at the time I read this was still exploring what that means for me, this book was a breath of fresh air in what can sometimes seem like a world full of highly sexual wlw characters. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for ace rep or just a great romance story.
- Both Leo and Holly are lesbians
- Holly is asexual (non sex-repulsed)
- Holly has friends (at least one of whom is aromantic) who are in a queer platonic partnership.
Find this book on: Goodreads