The really wonderful thing about Lesbian Fiction is that it has really become pretty diverse in terms of genre.Yes, I think we still have a way to go, but there are more options to choose from today than there were in, say, 2000. Heck, in the last 10 years alone, the Golden Crown Literary Society has gone from giving out awards in 3 categories to giving out awards in 13 categories. (And I have no doubt that we’ll be adding categories in future years.) Like a good mystery/thriller? Not a problem. Enjoy sinking your teeth into a good vampire story? Yep, lots of those, too. How about ghost stories? Sweet, because there are some really good ones out there.
Seriously. If there’s a genre you like, you’ll probably be able to find it in Lesbian Fiction.
While I do love all of the choices (and I read from many, many different genres), when all is said and done, I still cannot resist a solid romance. You know…that girl-meets-girl story with its great characters and relationship obstacles, all culminating in a great “Happily Ever After” ending. If the universe commanded that I only be allowed to read romance novels for the rest of my life, I’d be okay with that. It’s probably the perpetual single girl in me that enjoys reading about others finding their Happily Ever After. I like living vicariously through these fictional characters that, in some ways, are very much like me…and yet, not like me at all. In short, romance novels make me happy.
At eighteen, Emerson Rosberg was poised to become an Olympic skiing sensation. Growing up in the Adirondack ski town of Lake Henry with a world-renowned ski champion for a father gave her an edge over the competition…until the day she let her ego get the better of her and made a devastating mistake that would cost her any future in the sport. Deciding the only way to heal her shattered dreams was to run as far away from Lake Henry as possible, she settled in Los Angeles, leaving all memories of her previous life far behind.
When her mother dies suddenly, Emerson is forced back to Lake Henry to take care of things, including the sale of The Lakeshore Inn. Her plan to get in and get out of that miserable town as quickly as possible is brought to a screeching halt when Cassie Prescott, the bubbly, friendly owner of a local sporting goods store, gets in the way. Cassie’s still cleaning up the debris from her last relationship, but she’s instantly drawn to Emerson, despite warnings from friends and family alike.
As the cold weather closes in and Emerson and Cassie’s relationship heats up, one question keeps popping up for Emerson: can you really go home again?
Zero Visibility (Brisk Press) is Georgia Beers’ newest offering. It’s a romance. Because that’s what Beers does – she writes romances. She does so proudly. (Listen to her Keynote Address at the 2013 GCLS Conference and see her presentation of A Day in the Life of a Romance Writer.) Thank goodness for readers, she does it well.
I always enjoy the characters that Beers creates in her novels. Beers offers us characters who make mistakes; they’re characters who have issues. They’re not perfect. They’re fallible. I can relate to them. Emerson Rosberg and Cassie Prescott are two such characters. Both women are dealing with mistakes they’ve made in the past and they each have their own ways of dealing with those mistakes. For Cassie, it’s a bit easier. Lake Henry is her home. She has her family and friends to help her through and be her support. Emerson doesn’t have that safety net. No siblings. Her mother has just died. Her father is not there for her. She really doesn’t have friends to speak of. She just has herself. Until Cassie enters her life. And that causes a whole new set of issues that Emerson doesn’t feel equipped to handle. It’s a wonderful balance and Beers does a nice job of laying things out and really delving into minds of these two characters. Beers gives them depth. She brings a realism to Emerson and Cassie that had me relating with each woman on different levels. It’s very satisfying.
The supporting characters in Zero Visibility are more than just filler. Each one serves a particular purpose throughout the novel. Periodically, Beers showed us the perspective of some of these supporting characters. I’ll admit that I was thrown by this the first time it happened. It took me out of the story for a minute. (“Whoa! Why did we just switch to that perspective?”) But I settled down and kept reading. Half-way through the section, I wasn’t wondering anymore. And the next time it happened, I wasn’t pulled out of the story at all. It made sense and just added more layers to Emerson’s and Cassie’s characters. I love Beers’ knack for giving each a very distinctive voice. With each new perspective, there were very subtle changes in language use and sentence structure. Whether this was Beers’ plan or not, I don’t know, but I sure thought it was effective.
Beers doesn’t skimp on the details. She takes the time to really paint the picture for her readers. Never been to the Adirondacks? No worries. Beers has you covered. From the description of The Lakeshore Inn to the layout of Cassie’s sporting good store to the walkways and trails of Lake Henry, Beers provided the details and visual cues I needed to picture everything clearly. Sometimes I actually felt like I was breathing the crisp mountain air. Her descriptions of characters are clear and, in some cases, recall iconic figures. You’ll love her description of Arnold Cross.
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Beers’ romances is the slow build. Even though I can “see” what the characters can’t as their relationship forms, I don’t have an urge to yell, “Oh, c’mon already!” Yes, I can see things happening. Yes, I want them to see what I see. But I don’t want to rush it. Part of the joy is watching Emerson and Cassie figure it out. It’s great when the supporting characters see what I see and start nudging Emerson and Cassie in different directions. It’s like I’m sharing a secret with them. And, yet, I still don’t want things to move too quickly. I still want the slow build. Sexual tension? Yes, please. Internal struggles over the way their feelings are changing? Most definitely. Hop into bed at the earliest opportunity. Put on the brakes, Buster! I’ve come to care too much about the characters to have them rush things for a tumble in the sheets. I want the Happily Ever After to be believable. I want it to be for good. Beers’ talent for assuring a solid HEA is off the charts.
If you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat mystery, or a nail-biting adventure, or vampires and demons, I’ve got some suggestions for you that will not include Zero Visibility. Because if that’s what you want, you won’t get it from this novel. But if you’re looking for a solid romance with great characters and a complex, fulfilling love story, then Zero Visibility should definitely be on your list.