Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I had doubts before the Big Day—doesn’t everyone?—but I didn’t expect to find my fiancée banging the caterer’s assistant right before the ceremony. Especially because he’s a guy. And we’re lesbians. The proper sort of Southern Californian lesbians who invest in hedge funds and wear bedazzled wedding dresses and wouldn’t be caught dead in a Subaru.
But then I became a runaway bride, headed straight for Belladonna Ink to get the kind of tattoo I always wanted and my ex always called trashy. She didn’t approve of a lot of things I did. I think maybe she didn’t approve of who I am.
So I’m determined to be as much of myself as I can manage. Dating my tattoo artist? I’m in. Cai is smart, sexy, and mysterious. Exactly what I need for a rebound. She keeps herself guarded, but I understand—I’m holding on to secrets too. The kind of secrets that make a girl want to run home to Mom, even if home is Idaho. Maybe especially then. I just didn’t expect Cai to come with me.
I wonder what it would take to get her to stay forever.
Her Hometown Girl by Lorelie Brown is the 3rd novel in the Belladonna Ink series but from what I can tell the entries are largely standalone stories that don’t build up on each other. This is my first book from this author and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.
The story is told alternately through the eyes of the two protagonists, Tansy and Cai. What got me immediately hooked on this novel was those two characters and the way they are portrayed. They each are given a very distinct kind of voice and the author grants us a very intimate look into their personalities, tastes and inner as well as outer personal problems and fears. When I started with this novel, I was expecting a more light-hearted romance story but both the depth of the characters as well as the broached subjects surprised me (in a good way).
Tansy is only starting to recover from a both mentally and physically abusive relationship with her ex-fiancée. The author does a great job in portraying the marks that this has left on her and her struggle to find her own strength again. Even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant actions have a huge impact on her in this battered state of mind like how she panics when she messes up ordering drinks at a bar. It made her a very relatable character and I couldn’t help rooting for her and admiring her struggle against her own anxieties and fears (just like Cai does).
Cai appears at least on the outside to be the very opposite of Tansy. She seems like a strong, determined woman who knows what she wants and has her shit together. But as soon as we get to hear her own inner voice, we learn that she too has her own demons from her past to contend with. The two of them showcase how appearances can deceiving: how someone who appears weak and flustered (and maybe even thinks of themselves that way) can find a great strength within and how someone who seems tough and badass still carries the pain and scars from their past inside them.
The other characters were interesting and entertaining to read about as well – especially Tansy’s grandmother who was very inspiring to me.
The sex scenes are solely f/f and contain elements of submission and domination. They are hot, emotional and never meaningless. Each one feels like it adds to the characters and the development of their relationship. There’s just the right amount of them too – enough to keep things spicy but also not so many that the story might suffer from them. Warning: The book also contains a rape scene and further mentions of sexual as well as intense emotional abuse.
This novel really caught me by surprise about how much I got into it and felt for the characters. The subject of manipulation and abuse in a relationship is dealt with in an insightful manner as we get to see what kind of things it can do to a victim. I can recommend this book to anyone who is not looking for just a quick, steamy read about characters without any problems. I will definitely be looking into other works by this author as well.
The cover design by L. C. Chase is pretty and the soft tones with the pink sky suit particularly Tansy’s character rather well.
ebook, 243 pages
Published September 4, 2017
by Riptide Publishing
Edition Language: English