Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.
I fell deeply in love with Lionel, the femme of the novel Femme right from the opening paragraphs when he is grapheling with waking up to the morning after realities in the most delightful of Lionel ways. The conversation he’s having with himself over the man in his bed, the probabilities over what he thinks his name is, whether or not the sex was as delightful as he remembers it was or great dream sex….the rambling goes on and my love affair just solidified itself. I loved Lionel.
He was effervescence itself while having been through more than a few of life’s harder realities. Trust me, Lionel is someone who has accepted himself, knows who he is and isn’t going to back down for anyone. He’s fabulous without being a cliche or if he is, Lionel is going to grab that cliche, glam it up, and make it his own. I totally forgot that Marshall Thornton had created him. For me, Lionel became real in just a few pages and has stayed that way, even now.
Then Dog woke up.
Dog aka Doug, well, he’s got a different path to walk, including that to my heart. It takes a while with Dog. He’s unsure of everything in his life, including how to stand up for himself, how to come out to his family, how he feels about femmes, just about every important question in life is one that Doug needs to answer in this book. Loyalty, love, and relationship questions….all are looming large here.
Dog (the reason for his name will be explained towards the end of the story…perfect really) undergoes realistic character growth. A much needed ones. Because, like Lionel, Doug comes across as so real he is also so disappointing in his actions at crucial times in the story. You’ll see it coming and start flinching at the approach because Marshall Thornton knows human behavior. I can see readers having issues here. But it is also what makes Dog/Doug’s growth and the steps he finally takes so rewarding. He becomes the man who Lionel deserves to have in his life. They deserve each other, pom poms and all.
Marshall Thornton really knows how to write characters that have staying power.
This is the first in a series. It has me wondering if the author will pull from the pool of amazing characters he created for this novel or if he’s going to do something entirely different but same subject matter. I don’t care. Ok, yes, I do. I love all these characters and want to see them all again, except one. Boo hiss to him. So I’ll be waiting for my next Marshall Thornton story to arrive (he’s become an automatic read for me). Meanwhile, I’m highly recommending Femme (Femme #1) by Marshall Thornton to all of you. It’s two person narrative is highly addictive as are its characters, the story flows smoothly and quickly, and the ending is one to leave you happy and wanting more of this couple.
Cover art by Marshall Thornton. I like the red shoes. So Lionel but the font seems to harsh. Maybe that’s what’s jarring me.
Sales Link: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 222 pages
Published July 28th 2016 by Kenmore Books
Edition Language English
Literary AwardsLambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Romance (2017), Rainbow Award for Gay Romantic Comedy (2nd) (2016)