Dani Baker is an artistic director with a high-flying career and successful business who lives her life on the edge of ‘polite’ society. Wearing grunge with pride, a leather dyke who likes S&M and regularly visits very private members clubs, she is used to being judged and sneered at for her life choices.
Camilla Callaghan couldn’t be more different. Uptight, finance director, well dressed and repressed, she is so far in the closet nobody but a few friends even knew she was living with a woman for 10 years, or lost her partner in a tragic attack.
When the two meet through work the attraction is instant but they are so far apart in so many ways it seems a very unlikely pairing. Dani might pursue Camilla and convince her to take a chance, but will Camilla be everything she desires or another vanilla lesbian who shy’s away from Dani’s real needs?
Set in London in 1993 this is a great flash back novel and brought back all sorts of memories. No mobiles, using an A to Z instead of google maps, dial up modems and Silver Moon books. Jen Silver has perfectly recaptured the mood and tone of the gay scene and reminds us how far we have come. How brave we felt being ‘out and proud’ and how public awareness of LGBT people and AIDS has changed.
Dani is an amazing character, presenting herself as a rough and tough dyke in men’s suits and leathers she is a highly intelligent, well educated and cultured woman who accepts the price she has to pay for being herself. Camilla is the exact opposite in terms of the price she pays because she chooses to hide who she is, even from herself. Dani doesn’t expect acceptance even on a social level, whereas Camilla doesn’t expect to ever feel strong passions and real fulfilment.
A brilliant supporting cast of friends and colleagues, Camila’s bosses and Dani’s workmates are extremely well drawn, and morph from sketchy background figures into real friends. The reaction of Camila’s friends and family to Dani is well done even if her parents relatively easy acceptance might be something we all wished for back in 1993.
Excellent storyline, interesting characters, gentle exploration of the fetish/S&M scene of the era and a delightful journey of self-discovery, this is definitely Jen Silver’s best to date and it’s great to see her step outside the charming and rather parochial English romances into something with a lot more bite.
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(publisher review copy received)
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