Give Me A Reason

Give Me A Reason - Lyn  Gardner The last time I read 600+ page lesfic books, they were both fanfiction. Doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Both are on my all-time-favorites list. I guess when the book makes the transition from free to published, they get trimmed down to the usual 200+ pages or so that's become the expected length for lesfic romance readers. I wonder if this a publisher-imposed limit?

Anyway, I'm not sure if this book was originally fanfic, but the resemblances to my fave characters from Bad Girls were uncanny. I'm glad though that the author has chosen the self-publishing route, and as a result this book is not heavily edited to conform to the usual pacing or length of lesfic romance books as 'defined' by an editor. It's almost like a template they follow, especially with the big publishers. That's perfectly fine for thrillers and mysteries where pacing and need to maintain tension is critical but when it comes to romances, I've found myself turning to indie releases more, as they are less predictable (to the extent that romance books can possibly be :)) and oftentimes have more interesting stories to tell.

Tony Vaughn starts the book as a deeply damaged character--after a horrifying stint in an isolated prison where the jailors were allowed to run rampant without supervision. After four years in hell, she came out totally broken and paralyzed with fear. Fortunately, traces of the old Tony Vaughn, vaunted educator and author, survives. Under the auspices of a very understanding boss, she manages to carve a niche and somehow excel in her own little classroom of women ex-cons. In strides Laura, newly hired assistant manager, and Tony's world is turned into chaos.

Their relationship develops naturally--from avoidance, to antagonism, to wariness, to reluctant friendship, and eventually to a tentative romance. The pace is leisurely but realistic. Their journey towards each other is a joy to read and savor. The book might be about a fourth shorter if it was just about the two ladies, but it also meanders a bit around Laura's parents, especially her estranged relationship with her father. This was very well treated though, so no complains there. There were also a couple of coincidences too many, that stretched believability. But all in all, a very good read and worth the premium price the author charges for the ebook.

A friend asked if this book is depressing, as the blurb seems to imply that its all about PTSD. Weird, but this is the third PTSD book i've read in the past month ('Picking Up the Pieces' and 'Show of Force'). Of the three, Tony here suffers the worst case of PTSD, yet, this is actually the least depressing book. There is a lot of humor sprinkled throughout via witty dialogue and repartees, although the overuse of the title of the book got to be over-the-top. At no point did it bring me down (as most of 'Picking up the Pieces' did...and the middle part of 'Show of Force' almost caused me to stop reading). OTOH, this is more of a 'feel good' read, a reaffirmation of the resiliency of the human spirit and the limitless possibilities of hope.

Lastly, one can't review this book and not comment on the ending. You'll either love it or hate it. I don't care for it, but I don't think it is enough of a reason to not read this book. I don't know if a sequel is planned, but if it is, I hope it isn't a rerun of this book.

The book ends in a cliffhanger. But don't worry, all the threads in the main story are properly resolved except the very last one. The cliffhanger is just like in those horror movies where they leave an opening for a sequel.