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Chasing a Brighter Blue by Gerri Hill
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Chasing a Brighter Blue

by Gerri Hill

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I am beginning to think that I just shouldn't read Gerri Hill's books.

The thing is, I want to like them. I live in Colorado and love the state, and so to see lesbian fiction that is set in Colorado (and is also believable, as in the author obviously has spent serious time here) should be the bee's knees for me. And yet I have yet to read a Gerri Hill book that I actually enjoyed. Granted, I've only read three (this one, plus Storms and Snow Falls), but I haven't liked any of them at all.

I guess this book might be perfect if you're looking for a tropey-as-hell, generic romance with some homophobia, consent issues, and blase treatment of PTSD thrown in for good measure. There is absolutely no diversity to be found in this book - everyone is lily white, and nearly everyone is at least non-struggling middle class. Why is it that so many lesbian romances lack diversity? I suppose one could argue that by being a lesbian romance, it's automatically diverse, but this is a niche publisher. Your book is expected to be a lesbian (or queer) romance when it's published by Bella Books. And the world is full of amazing lesbians of all colors, ethnicities, races, social classes, etc. Why can't our romance books reflect that?

Anyway, I digress.

I have a real problem with how Shelby is treated by her mother, sister, and general family. Even Shelby's sister, Stephanie, who is more "accepting" of Shelby's orientation makes comments about how Reagan looks "manly." And not only does no one help Shelby when a very overzealous best man, Doug, tries to hit on her at all times, but they find it amusing - even though he's trying to grope her and tells her quite bluntly that he will kiss her if they land under mistletoe no matter what she wants. Consent issues much? He spends much of the book dogging her, and not even Shelby really tells him to take a hike - she just rolls her eyes and goes with the flow. And Shelby's mother actually encourages Doug to act this way towards Shelby. He resembles a creepy stalker more than someone who is an okay, yet very persistent, guy. Gross. I kept waiting for someone to tell him that he was being rude and obnoxious, but no one ever did. Even when Shelby was telling him that she was indeed gay, she kind of laughed it off. The whole thing felt weird and gross to me.

Also, of course Hill had to throw in a "family member slept with another family member's girlfriend in high school" thing, because that seems to be par for the course for her books, at least the ones I have read. Reagan and Doug have a lot of animosity towards one another, and it is revealed relatively early in the book that Reagan slept with Doug's girlfriend in high school. Super gross. I don't care if you're a lesbian and you "seduced" a family member's girlfriend - have some freaking boundaries, people. It's not healthy to go around sleeping with people who are dating people in your family! And that happened in Storms and Snow Falls too! What is it about this author and that trope?

Also, Reagan's PTSD was treated very poorly, in my view. Although she wasn't "healed" of it completely after twelve days, just talking to Shelby magically made most things all better for her in a matter of days. And I was so fucking sick reading about Reagan's tragic, haunted eyes - which magically got better, too, after a few talk sessions and a roll in the hay.

This is the third book that I've read by Gerri Hill, and I am not sure that I will read another by her, which is a shame, since some of her books do sound really interesting (including this one), but I just end up getting angry after reading them. ( )
  schatzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159493469X, Paperback)

A Christmas wedding in Colorado? A two-week celebration with family and friends? Who does that?

Photojournalist Reagan Bryant has just returned from six month stint in Afghanistan. Haunted by the tragedy that ended her last assignment, she’s searching for some peace—something to end the guilt and chase the trauma away. Two weeks at the resort hotel owned by her future sister-in-law’s father seems like the perfect escape.

Shelby Sutton doesn’t trust women. They always seem more interested in her father’s money than in her. But at her sister’s request, she vows to make friends with Reagan, a woman whose sad and haunted eyes are nearly impossible to ignore.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:45:57 -0500)

A Christmas wedding in Colorado? A two-week celebration for family and friends? Who does that? Photojournalist Reagan Bryant is haunted by the tragedy that ended her last assignment in Afghanistan. She's searching for some peace, something to end her guilt and chase away her trauma. Two weeks at a resort hotel, owned by her future sister-in-law's father, seems like the perfect antidote for her blue mood. Shelby Sutton doesn't trust women. Her father's money seems more on their minds than she ever is. But at her sister's request she vows to make friends with the withdrawn Reagan, a woman whose sad and haunted eyes intrigue her. Can she help Reagan heal and ease her pain ... perhaps chase away the blue?… (more)

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