Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review Tuesday: Almost-Married Moni by Cheyenne Blue - #ReviewTuesday #MarriageEquality #LesbianRomance

Almost-Married Moni by Cheyenne Blue
Ylva Publishing, 2017

A simple Outback wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Almost-Married Moni is a novella featuring the characters from Cheyenne Blue’s delightful Girl Meets Girl series: Never-Tied Nora, Not-So-Straight Sue and Fenced-In Felix. Moni, the title character and narrator, is the gutsy doctor from Texas who falls in love with Outback lawyer Sue in the second novel in the series. Now Moni and Sue live together with their housekeeper Mrs. T and their dog Ripper in the remote town of Mungabilly Creek, where Sue provides legal services and Moni runs a clinic. When Australia finally votes to allow same-sex marriage, Moni and Sue decide to officially tie the knot. However, their ideas about the wedding they want don’t necessarily agree with the notions held by their respective families. White dresses? In the red dust of an Outback summer?

Cheyenne Blue published this sweet romance to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of marriage equality in her adopted country. It’s a fine finale to her series. In fact, it feels like a reunion, since Sue and Moni plan to hold their wedding at Jayboro Station, the even more remote home of horse-loving Felix and Josie. Meanwhile, Nora and Geraldine from England (and the first book) are among the most honored guests.

The novella’s warmth and humor definitely feel like a celebration. There’s not much conflict, though of course things don’t go as planned, with Moni’s ex-girlfriend attending as a couple with Moni’s brother and Josie’s thoroughbred mare Flame throwing something of a spanner into the works. Love triumphs, though—as it should.

The author excels at evoking the stark appeal of the Outback landscape as well as the rough-and-ready character of its inhabitants. Any reader can tell that Ms. Blue connects deeply with her home. As is the case with many of her books, the countryside is almost a character in this tale.

Fans of Ms. Blue’s more explicit stories might be a bit disappointed to learn that there’s no erotic content at all in this book. That doesn’t mean the novella lacks heat. Desire as well as love binds all these couples together, but the expression of desire happens mostly off-stage.

Actually, I can see the wisdom in focusing on the emotional connections rather than the physical in this book honoring the institution of marriage. Lesbians and gays are often portrayed as hyper-sexual beings. I believe those notions stem mostly from fear of the unknown or a need to trivialize same-sex relationships as “just sex”. In contrast, the author shows us a couple totally committed to sharing their lives with one another, both the highs and the lows, for better or for worse, long after their wedding night.

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