My top ten lesbian romances part 2

In the last post I talked about discovering Karin Kallmaker’s romance novels. What struck most about them is the humour—– Oh and the sex. That woman writes smoking sex scenes.

Paperback Romance has an irresistible heroine, Carolyn. She is a hopeless romantic who writes romance novels.

Carolyn has had nothing but  bad luck with men. Try as she might it never works (I wonder why?) 

Carolyn has a failed love life but, her career is out of control successful, thanks in part, to the guidance of her loyal

editor and best friend, Allison.

Allison plays softball and has never married—-You do the math.

Carolyn goes on a trip to Europe and meets Nick a powerful Maestro with a closely guarded secret.

This novel is very funny and very sexy. The novel manages to play with the conventions of Harlequin type romances without ever succumbing to them. It seems cliche and yet it defies all cliches, it is after all about woman in love and there is nothing cliche or formulaic about that. How good do you have to be, to make a reader believe she is reading a quasi bodice ripper. Takes a deft hand and Karin has it in spades. Of course, I didn’t see that on the first reading or the second one. The first reading I wanted to know what happens. The second I wanted to re-read the sexy parts.

Only when I sat down to think about my favorite romances and what they have meant to me, did all this come to mind.    What can I say? I’m slow.

 I could also be wrong but, that’s how I see it and I’m going with that.

Paperback Romance was my first Kallmaker novel and it holds a special place in my heart.

Wild Things is my favorite.

Like most of the best of my collection it has been on loan to a friend for a while now.

(I won’t name her she knows who she is)

The reason I mention this, I am rellying on my memory which is to be honest—-excellent.

Memory has it’s limits, kind of like eyewitness accounts, so please, bear with me and forgive possible errors.

Back to Wild Things.

This to me is the best of the best. I know that many of you might not agree, everybody has their favourite and we all have our reasons. I have many reasons for liking Wild Things best.

 The characters are mature, intelligent  and successful women. They both have a past that is full of shadow as well as light (don’t we all). They both fight this magnetic attraction  they have for each other because, they don’t want to hurt other people. They are noble, they are smart and you root for them. They play “name that quote” and read many books. They are charming. Sidney and Faith, I always imagined a young  Katherine Hepburn and Blythe Danner playing them in the movie rolling in my mind.

I love movies. Good old movies. This novel to me is like a movie, I see it so clearly. The descriptions are so clear.

I don’t mean long Victorian like  drawn  out descriptions of dew on stawberries. I mean descriptions of people you can practically smell, of gardens you feel  you have walked in. I would take this book on a desert island.

Complex beautiful women in love.  Sigh

Wild Things ROCKS.

more later


My top ten Lesbian romances

Here are my top ten romances.

 They all have romance in them, although, some are not strictly romance novels.

They all have women loving women.

1-Wild Things by Karin Kallmaker

2-Curious Wine by Katherine V Forrest

3-Endless Love by Lisa Shapiro

4-Saving Grace by Jennifer Fulton

5-Landing by Emma Donoghue

6-Watermark by Karin Kallmaker

7-Paperback Romance by Karin Kallmaker

8-Love in the Balance by Marianne K Martin

9-Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon

10-Treasured Past by Linda Hill

The first lesbian romance I ever purchased was Saving Grace by Jennifer Fulton.

 I had read lesbian erotica—- well actually, I had read male fantasy masquerading as lesbian erotica.

 I feel confident I’m not the first dyke to have read Penthouse’s Forum with it’s adolescent  horny male idea of what two girls do when they “get it on”. They did seem to get the mechanics right but, as far as feelings were concerned they were on another planet.

 So, I decided to visit what was then our “local” gay, lesbian and feminist bookstore (L’Androgyne on St-Laurent) and see what they had to offer. It was a tiny place but, they had lots of Naiad books. Magazines like The Advocate had mentioned the pioneer work that Naiad had  done and was still doing —they contributed immensely to giving lesbians a voice.

 I bought Saving Grace, it had a nice purple cover and the back made it sound interesting. A flawed heroine, an innocent “straight” girl looking to hide from her life after a career altering accident makes her question what her life is about.

I remember thinking the dyke will sweep her off her feet(yeh, it’s romance, fantasy, right!)

I brought that book home and read it in a couple of hours and then I read it again–I ended up going to sleep around 3 am. I was mesmerised. I haven’t read it in years (I lent it to someone and haven’t gotten it back) and yet —

 I still remember the scene where Grace kisses Dawn and they fall to the ground in a passionate embrace and she reaches inside Dawn’s  panties and says to her “Mm you’re so slippery”. I thought that was really hot.

 Another scene on the beach, Dawn can’t walk because she is too noxious from the sun and the pain meds

( She overdid the nude sun bathing)

 under protest she let’s Grace carry  her  and Grace  says ” I see you’re a natural blond”.

This book has real erotic power(sure some of  it is a little bit sentimental—and what’s wrong with that– a little sugar never hurt anyone). This book is about the redemptive power of love. The love of a good woman. That meant everything to me —-the love of a good woman.

 It’s sexy and the setting is a beautiful tropical island –and bonus there is an evil capitalist sub-plot.

I’m sorry if I gave away too much of the plot but, I needed to illustrate what a balm this was to my young butch soul.

Curious Wine  by Katherine V Forrest made me want to read poetry and maybe even—-ski, OK maybe not (I’m no athlete). The characters quoted Emily Dickinson and made bone melting love for hours. They were smart and sweet and intense.  I was hooked.

I was off on a quest for romance novels extraordinaire. Some were OK, some were bad, many were forgettable and then I read Paperback Romance by Karin Kallmaker.  I had found the lesbian romance novelist who spoke to me.

In the next post I will discuss what her work has meant to me.