*I was provided a free download of The Shape of You by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bold Strokes Books for affording me this opportunity.*
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a review. Heck, it’s been a long time since I’ve read something new. I’ve been spending the last many months dealing with health stuff, preparing for a conference, and watching all 14 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Twice. Oh, I’ve done some reading. And I’ve listened to audio books. But they’ve been repeats. With all of that behind me – and the need to fill my time until season 15 of Grey’s Anatomy starts – I decided to jump back into reading the new stuff.
For years now, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Georgia Beers’ novels. I’ve loved some and they have become part of my “comfort reading.” I’ve liked some and have re-read them when I felt the urge. There are some that were okay and I probably won’t read again. And that’s okay. Not every single book knocks it out of the park for me. The authors I know have heard this from me. I’ve yet to have one of them be offended that I’ve told them that. Because they know, just like I do, that my least favorite of their books will be someone else’s “comfort reading.” That’s okay. If we were all the same, what would be the point? If all readers disliked every book an author put out, what keeps that author writing? If all readers loved every book an author put out, what keeps that author improving? Readers and our varied opinions, likes, and dislikes are important. Essential, even. We motivate and we stimulate. We keep authors writing…and writing better.
That’s where I want to start with this review of The Shape of You by Georgia Beers (Bold Strokes Books) – better writing.
Having read so much of Beers’ oeuvre, I’ve seen how her writing has developed over the years. One thing that has always remained strong is the story she has to tell. I’ve said over and over in my reviews that the “Romance Formula” is essential – no matter how many times people complain about novels being “formulaic”, I will scream from the highest mountain, “It’s a ROMANCE!! We want the formula! It’s what brings us back!” The structure of the novel is formulaic, yes. The story, the romance is not. So, yes, the structure of this novel qualifies as an example of the “Romance Formula.” And for that I’m grateful. But, once again, the story that Beers has crafted is unique. The romance is fresh and inviting. The characters are well-developed and likable (even when they aren’t). Secondary characters are wonderfully integrated into the main characters’ lives and made essential to the story. So well done.
Look. Georgia Beers is a staple in the world of Lesbian Romance. It’s just the way it is. But that doesn’t mean that every book is a winner or that she has hit the highest point in her career. I know this. You know this. Beers knows this. Because…growth. Because…challenge.
But here is what I will say: I think this book is a winner. Rebecca and Spencer are great romantic leads. They have depth. They each have their issues, but we – readers – don’t spend the entire novel mired in their angst. Yes, it’s there. But it’s spread out and it’s palatable. It’s blended wonderfully throughout the story. We get to take sips rather than gulps. Beers, as usual, builds the sexual and emotional tension in ways that keep us engaged in the story. Engaged in the characters. (Have you ever talked back to a character in a book they way you do a character on TV? Yeah, that.)
The Shape of You is definitely a Georgia Beers novel…without being just like the other nineteen.