Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: Braggin Rights [2007]

I have been on a bit of a lesbian fiction jag lately, and that makes it easier to pick out the wheat from the chaff. I am afraid that Kenna White's Braggin Rights was in the Cream of Wheat category: not nearly as tasty as something homemade. It had several elements that made it promising (including one of my favorites, Enforced Bed Rest), but the narrative never quite came together in a believable way.

Taylor Fleming is a rough-riding cowboy who consistently has trouble with a senile neighbor, Rowdy Holland, stealing her family's cattle. When she confronts Rowdy's daughter about his behavior, she is stunned to find that Jen Holland is the "dream woman" she had met and pissed off at a gay bar the night before. After the women agree that Jen will talk to her father, neither expects that the next time they meet will be when Jen hires on to nurse Taylor through an accident that resulted in two broken legs. Jen needs the money to save her father's farm from foreclosure, but will their initial dislike of each other ever turn to love?

Yes, yes it will.

On the plus side, Taylor and Jen are very tame names, by lesbian romance standards. The romance had some nice elements, and the story took a twist that I didn't expect at the end. There were some believable obstacles, which doesn't always happen in romance novels. The main problem I had was that White didn't show enough of the development of their feelings for one another. They got off on the wrong foot, and then it seemed like they were suddenly deeply in love and negotiating cast-bound intimacy. More time was spent, page-wise, on a scene where Jen conquers her fear of horses than was given to, say, them discussing how Taylor was rude to Jen at the bar because she was looking . . . for Jen. Rewriting the book in my head had the effect of completely taking me out of the story. In addition, some of the euphemistic language used was more, um, creative than erotic (my favorite was the repeated use of "chamber"--I'll leave you to guess what body part that described), often destroying the flow of the scene as I recovered from my amusement. I do like Kenna White, and I will no doubt read other books by her, but I don't feel like this was her best effort.

Grade: C+

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