Shira Glassman's Reviews > She Whom I Love

She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery
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Nov 01, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: femslash, bi-characters-in-a-cis-m-f-story, poly, costume-drama

What a wonderful Regency poly ménage with happily ever after! Childhood girl friends who realize they're in love have also both been flirting with the same man. When they discover the overlap, they put their plan into action and the next thing James the Corset Maker knows, he's got two girlfriends. She Whom I Love is a perfect and quintessential example of something I've seen mentioned often these days: "wouldn't it be nice if some of those love triangles became triad fiction instead", because the plot sort of starts at a classic love triangle setup and then goes merrily in its own direction. For those who are looking for diversity within bisexuality: Sarah is bi, whereas author Tess Bowery said I surmised correctly from her period-appropriate descriptions that Meg is bisexual homoromantic.

More squeeing in list form, because I'm lazy today:

-the first confession of mutual love between the two women was everything I want in a historical f/f--no internalized homophobia, a feeling of utter wholesomeness and emotional purity in its approach to sexual intimacy between women. It read very 'love story' rather than erotica.

-ALL THREE of the romantic leads are working people who do things for a living. In a historical romance, that's a gift.

-Negative loose ends got tied up in an unexpectedly positive way, which was not only satisfying to me as a sugarbucket but satisfying to my feminist impulses

-the author made sure she wasn't writing a falsely white London

-there was an actual plot with adventure, and villains to fight, as opposed to the romantic arc being the entire rising and falling action, with elements of ladies rescuing ladies.

-a lot of the conflict comes from everyone trying to figure out how to make sure they're being treated with as much respect as they deserve as human beings despite living in a class system that denigrates actresses or people born of sex workers, rather than bullshit manufactured conflict and misunderstandings.

-the two women had really clearly defined contrasting personalities, with Sarah as the pragmatic and responsible one and Meg as the exciting foil

-Sarah is a playwright in what little spare time being a lady's maid affords her, and even the made-up play within a book made sense and sounded interesting to me

The book did make me yearn more for historical f/f without a dude in it that had the same feel--wholesome sexuality, pretty dresses, intense emotional connection, and nothing of persecution beyond a passing mention of "let's not get caught"--but I check LGBT presses a lot, and I'm optimistic. :)
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Reading Progress

November 1, 2015 – Shelved
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 27, 2016 – Started Reading
March 28, 2016 – Shelved as: femslash
March 28, 2016 – Shelved as: bi-characters-in-a-cis-m-f-story
March 28, 2016 – Shelved as: poly
March 28, 2016 – Finished Reading
July 11, 2016 – Shelved as: costume-drama

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