The Butch and the Beautiful
I’m still so very thrilled about this new series by one of my favourite authors. Kris Ripper totally won me over with zir Scientific Method series – so far so that ze is now an auto-buy author for me. I already loved the first book in zir new Queers of La Vista series, Gays of Our Lives, and The Butch and the Beautiful is a lovely sequel to it. Moreover, it’s an incredibly hot lesbian romance, and we can’t have enough of those, methinks. These books are standalones, so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first book (Gays of Our Lives – a male/male romance) and want to dive right into this one.
After Jaq and Hannah meet at a lesbian wedding of mutual friends, the beginning of the book is pretty much insta-attraction and hot sex – which as insta-things go I have no problems with – but it felt kind of unemotional and distant to me, which I didn’t like very much at first. But this changes during the course of the book and I later realised that it made sense. The book is written from Jaq’s point of view and she has major – make that MAJOR – commitment issues. But as she gradually opens up to Hannah and, in a way, to herself, the book gets more accessible and it’s much easier to connect to the protagonists and their love story. Considering that the narration style mirrors Jaq’s character development, this is pretty well done.
Hannah has just been going through a divorce and still needs to sell her ex-wife’s and her mutual house and is relocating to La Vista. Coming out of a failed relationship and generally being known as a wild card, she does not seem like an ideal candidate to date, which absolutely does not matter to Jaq since she is only looking for some casual sex. But as these two spend more and more time together, they can’t deny the connection that is building between them.
Here’s a short snippet of them:
I tried to pout, but failed. “If you want me to pretend I’m objecting, I can.”
“Oh no. Don’t bother. I’ll have you begging me in no time, and it won’t be acting. Let’s go, girlfriend.”
Girlfriend. Casual slang for female friend. Likely not meant as a term relating to committed or romantic partnership.
What really stands out is the body positivity of the whole book. Not only is Hannah a little on the chubby side, loving her body, and generally drawn in an absolutely attractive way, I haven’t come across many books that show female sexuality in such a liberating and positive light. There’s no shame or any taboo attached; on the contrary, Jaq and Hannah relish their bodies and the sex they have. Moreover, the author doesn’t fall back on stereotypes attached to butch lesbians in the way that they simply have to be dominant but shows that everyone is different and their own person.
Another part that I really liked is the subplot around the queer teens at Jaq’s school, where she works as a teacher and is part of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). Some of the teens struggle with the changes that they are going through and I loved how compassionately Jaq cares for them. This is a lovely part of the book and I found it to be really engrossing.
To sum up, The Butch and The Beautiful is a lesbian romance not to be missed.