Blythe Rippon’s second novel lives up to the promise of the first – Barring Complications. Completely different stories, setting and even sub genre, but the writing, the characterisation and the intelligence are all there.
Sam is a science genius, destined for great things. At Yale she falls for Natalie, straight and unobtainable, a player who never settles. Even when Natalie starts dating girls she doesn’t want Sam, and the unrequited love tears Sam to pieces.
When Sam’s mother needs her home she goes, willingly, but with a huge resentfulness about losing her dreams. Back in her hometown she needs to see that all things are possible, that what she wants can still be achieved despite the obstacles, and that there is more to life than the unreachable Natalie.
Here we have 3 main real life characters and a very strong supporting cast. The women are independent, ambitious and determined. They may stumble, but they never fall. They reach for what they want and form a great set of role models in different ways. Each has a different definition of success, but as the novel progresses we see that all are valid.
The first half of the novel is slow. Setting the scene for Sam’s fall, like an epic tale of the Greek tradition, she has everything and everything is achievable if she pushes hard enough. But life – fate – intervenes, and her world comes crashing down like a Homerian hero. Gradually she must learn to value things differently. The second half of the book sees her grow and change, adapt to her new life circumstances, eventually finding the peace she was incapable of before the fall.
Well written, interesting and entertaining Stowe Away shows that Blythe Rippon is a great addition to the Lesbian Fiction fold. Looking forward to what she comes up with next.
(publisher review copy received)
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