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Documenting Light

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  51 reviews
If you look for yourself in the past and see nothing, how do you know who you are? How do you know that you’re supposed to be here?

When Wyatt brings an unidentified photograph to the local historical society, he hopes staff historian Grayson will tell him more about the people in the picture. The subjects in the mysterious photograph sit side by side, their hands close but
Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published August 31st 2016 by Brain Mill Press
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  151 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Well that was bloody good.

The characters. Grayson and Wyatt are so real and raw it pulls your heart out. Just trying to get by, struggling with the endless crap, major and minor, the weary grind, and still managing to find hope and joy and inspiration in each other and for themselves. Incredibly human, for good or ill, and relatable.

The writing. I don't think I've read a romance where I highlighted so many quotes. This from Wyatt when he's trying to find the courage to tell someone, anyone, he'
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been a fan of EE’s for nearly two years now and I’ve read and admired all their work. They has a mention on my very-favourite-authors list (containing only 4 authors) and that’s due to them having made an actual lasting change in my life.

With Documenting Light they has published their first contemporary romance, venturing out of their SFF (comfort) zone. It is an important book and it is just as much their usual brand as it is different – meaning they is true to themself, yet claiming new t
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh, that was so sweet and tender and heart-warming! Everybody needs love and affection and a place in the world and they the right to it, they deserve it and when get the chance to have it, it can be beautiful!

Full review which is also posted on Ellie Reads Fiction

This book is an example of why I love reading in general and reading romance in particular, stories like this one are magical and they help us see and relate to each other as human beings regardless of the differences between us.

The r
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone for many different reasons
Full Review on

This is a sweet, gentle romance and in my opinion an important book.

For those of us who have gone before.
Your stories will not be forgotten.

Wyatt’s mother is in failing health due to Alzheimer’s, so he, his sister and her fiancé are moving her into an apartment. They hope it will be easier for her there than at the large family farm. While at the farm, Wyatt finds a photo hidden between the ceiling beams and insulation. This photo is obvious
Shira Glassman
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people wanting mushy trans romance w/happy ending
Shelves: nonbinary, trans
My first reaction to the end of Documenting Light and the fact that (view spoiler) was that choosing that ending was a more realistic way of wrapping up the topic of the difficulties of researching hidden queer history, and I wondered if this made the book more literary fiction rather than genre.

Then I realized that the romance itself -- between a trans man and a transfeminine nonbinary person -- was a pretty straightf
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read this year. Such a lovely, beautiful, quiet story. An excellent examination of the past and what it sometimes means for the future and how we shape our lives based on it. I absolutely loved this and all the emotions it made me feel.
The loveliness of this book was uplifting for me, after a long summer of stressing about gender issues, myself. Reading about a nonbinary MC, and feeling connected felt...healing, I guess. Both because I haven't dared to think of myself in those terms until recently, and because good books with well-written nonbinary characters are pretty rare gems.

Wyatt knew what it was to live with his cards permanently close to his chest, to always have a part of him unacknowledged and unseen.

Documenting Lig
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary, romance
This was such a sweet, beautiful, slow story, and I really enjoyed it. It shone through that the book's events are obviously close to the author's heart. Although I'm not very knowledgeable at this, I felt the trans aspect was written very well, respectfully and honestly, showing the characters and their emotions realistically. The love scenes, while not many, were really hot, but also tender and loving. And finally, the historical research part of the book was fascinating! I kind of hope the au ...more
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary, bingo
This is a lovely story. I am unsure how to review this story and give it justice, but I think everyone should read it.

Grayson and Wyatt meet over a photo that Wyatt found hidden away. Wyatt is immediately intrigued by the photo and wants to learn more about the two men pictured.
Along with growing as individuals, their relationship deepens as they research this photograph.
They are both complex individuals in their own unique ways. Grayson transitioned a couple of years before and he is still wor
Sadie Forsythe
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I devoured this thing! It arrived with the afternoon post, about 3:30pm and I finished before going to sleep. I hardly set it down long enough to eat dinner and put the kiddos to bed.

Grayson and Wyatt make an incredibly cute, though painfully awkward couple. They and their budding relationship are sweat and slow to boil. There's sex, but it's not the point. These are two people learning to love and accept each-other and themselves.

It's not a flashy plot, but it's darned effective. And some
Jul 02, 2017 marked it as dnf
Interesting premise (well researched too), amateurish writing.
Heather  Lou Reads
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a sweet love story about two people who completely accept one another. I thought it spoke about super important topics like sexuality, identity, acceptance, and the history of everyone, including people of color and queer people. A super important read!
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Full reviewage on Prism Book Alliance®

Everyone should be reading this book. Right now. Skip this effing review because you should be reading and experiencing and forever carrying this book with you. Yep, everyone.

Now, if you insist on reading this review, I thank you, but in return I insist you read this story.

Wyatt is kind, caring, and in tune with their siblings and their mom. They work downtown for a judge on sensitive cases. The family has had struggles, including right now with their mother
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, queer, my-e-things
4.5 stars. This is a quiet, intimate book and it's fascinating and smart and so very human. It's intelligent and real and just "everyday life" in way that's not overly common in romance. This is a story about two people who are struggling with lots of things in their lives and sometimes it's really grim and raw and affecting, but, at the same time, it's also very hopeful and delicate and quietly joyful. This is also a book about history and how subjective it is and how so many voices are left ou ...more
This is rich romance filled with nerdy historical details of Upstate New York, queer history, and reading the text of photographs.

It is moving looking at falling in love between two working class people--one a trans man and one gender queered person not yet out.

There is angst and the ties of family and work in the middle of this winter. The writing is lyrical and academic and tender.

The love story hopeful but realistic. Very good


I am always wanting an epilogue!
Chasia Lloyd
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stunning, quiet contemporary romance between a trans man and a transfeminine nonbinary person. There is a lot of pain and anxiety unpacked between Wyatt and Grayson while they work on solving a mystery behind a photograph. More importantly, there is a ton of love and tenderness. I enjoyed this book very much.

tw: character with a past suicide attempt, misgendering
This was such, such a good book.
The writing was a bit like an impressionist painting : small and clever touches everywhere, giving the whole an atmospheric feeling.
I liked how the characters were relating to the past and their reflections on History. (Having a degree in History, it was such a treat Not To Feel Alone -as I usually do- for having a lot thoughts about the past and how I relate to it, for once). I could relate so much with Grayson.
I loved Grayson & Wyatt with fierce love, I loved h
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
We thought this one was *gorgeous* and we're rapidly becoming huge EE Ottoman fans!

"In sum, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t perfect, it was definitely stronger in the beginning than the end, but by God, it was such an enjoyable read that I stand firmly by my rating anyway. - Matt

"I enjoyed this a lot, but in a very quiet and… surprising way. Definitely recommended for everyone, but especially historians." - Maria

Find both full reviews on our blog heret.
Robin Mandell
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow-moving, sweet, thoughtful read.

Documenting light is a perfect name for this book. Light and open is exactly how my heart feels after reading this. It's a subtle story about every day lives. Big things don't happen, except when they do. It's about romance, and curiosity, family relationships, and aging parents. .. . see? Just the stuff of every day life. It's also a boat gender, and sexuality, and what it's like to hide Who you really are, and how having people who except and see you for
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Scrolling through reviews I see most of them include the word "lovely" in the first sentence, it's certainly fitting. The story is quiet and down to earth, without the fantasy element of a lot of romance novels - these two characters overcome some obstacles and confront new ones, but you don't see every loose end tied up like you often do at the end of a love story. It's more a story about them finding each other than a full arc of ending up together, and it's really sweet and thoughtful.

I part
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very different book than I usually read, but it was well done and thought provoking.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely, quiet, trans romance. I found it adorable. I would read more about these people.

It discusses itself quite explicitly - the two main characters are both embarking on their own journeys of trans history, of finding the queerness in the historical narrative, as well as having their own personal journeys. I'd personally have preferred more on their personal individual journeys of identity, because I felt like there was more there to say, and their personal backgrounds were absolute
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
4.5 stars rounded up.

Such a lovely book, very quiet, but so much happens. In fact there was so much that we could have gotten more detail on that I'm hoping for more from Grayson and Wyatt. I think this would make an amazing series as they continue to explore other queer pictures from the past.

I appreciated so much about this book. The way the characters are presented is perfect, so often books that are about important subjects make characters cut and dried, one thing and one thing only, but I
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked a lot about this book. The relationship at the heart of the story is quiet and sweet, and it was wonderful to watch it grow. Both of the main characters are lovely -- flawed and believable while still being totally sympathetic. You're definitely rooting for them both from the get-go. And I liked the historical mystery angle, and the details about Grayson's job and some of the research we see them doing.

That said, the major flaw here was that there simply wasn't enough of almost anything.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A sweet and lovely story, but also an interesting look into how queer history disappears or is explained away as straight, and what historians can do about it.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
loved the idea of a book on the value of queer history, didn’t love how flat the characters felt and how the story lost all suspense halfway through
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I am attending a meeting for librarians to discuss LGBTQ+ books and this one was on a list of fiction that features transgender characters. I enjoyed this book and feel like it would be a great read for anyone who is transgender, exploring their identity, or cisgender and who wants to learn about the experiences of transgender people through the story of Grayson and Wyatt.

There are things that I really liked about this book. I thought Grayson and Wyatt were well thought
Quinn Green
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book has such interesting things to say about queer history and the reading of meaning in photographs! I loved this aspect of the book. I wish this historical mystery had been more central and had informed more of the story; as it stands, it pops up every few pages but could have been better integrated into the narrative of Wyatt and Grayson’s relationship.

The romance was very grounded and realistic, but there were times when it dragged a bit with a lot of back and forth detail that could h
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been saving this one for a rainy day and it really lived up to that. Looooove a book that is both a romance and an exploration of what it means to look for queerness in history / to look for your (queer) self in history. Seriously adored the characters. I'll probably reread this book within the month; might have more thoughts on it, or might just bask in how good it is.
Simultaneously cozy and emotionally wrenching; pals let me know if you want content warnings, since it does deal with some
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really quiet and very sweet novel. It is a quick read and feels like there could be a whole lot more contained in it's pages, but I like how it's just a slice. I just wish the ending had been a little more fleshed out, it came rather abruptly. The non-binary and trans rep is honest and well done in a way that doesn't raise any eyebrows. Although, I wasn't worried going into this title because Ottoman always has a deft hand at positive representation. ...more
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writes romance novels, wears pretty clothes, does history stuff.


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