Emily Sharp, $8.99, ISBN 978-1980919476
Contemporary Romance, 2018
People say be careful of picking up strangers, but giving Lacey Hunter a ride may just be the best thing to happen to Doll Stolar. Yes, Doll and Lace. The author is so cute. Doll is hoping to start anew in Colorado, but she is taking her time in getting there. Lace is feeling vaguely trapped in her corner of Hope, Alabama. Her life with her brother and her father isn’t much to brag about, and Dale scares her sometimes when he acts up. The most exciting thing to ever happen to her may just be this beautiful woman having her car break down in her neighborhood. When she decides to hop into that car with Doll once Doll is ready to get out of town, she’s probably making the best mistake of her life.
Yes, Doll and Lace is that relatively rare tale of woman-on-woman love that occasionally shows up in the wilderness. One thing I really like about this, however, is that these characters are portrayed not as lesbians or bisexuals first and foremost for woke points, but rather, believable people who are taking a chance to leave the past behind, in order to find look for a chance at happiness on the road ahead. This one is more of a small town romance that just happens to features two women in love. Oh, and this is a novella – the price listed here is for the trade paperback format – but I eventually stop taking notice of how long or short it is because I soon find myself swept away by the story.
Both heroines have a nice balance of vulnerabilities and virtues, and the author gives this relationship a good kind of slow burn that makes the developing feelings between the two women so much more believable. Due to the length of the story, characterization may not be as deep as it could have been, but I feel that there is enough to satisfy me.
Just be careful: the story occasionally dips into mawkish sentimentality that makes me cringe, and Doll can sometimes come off too much like a shrink in advising Lace on how to sort her life out. But these are just small issues where I am concerned. I’m all for stories of people jumping into cars to leave the past behind for an uncertain, but likely more glorious road ahead, and Doll and Lace gets to me. I get the feels, and I feel the blues, and I’m alright with that.