Carol reviews Finding Bluefield by Elan Barnehama


Finding Bluefield by Elan Barnehama

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Genre: Fiction

Overview from Amazon:

“When Barbara Phillips arrives in Bluefield, Virginia, to begin her medical residency, she thinks she is headed for an uneventful few years filled with work in an obscure little town where no one knows her—which is exactly what she wants.

Everything changes when she enters Nicky’s diner and begins a journey that will last a lifetime as she falls in love against her better judgment and best-laid plans. The free-spirited Nicky later attends the 1963 March on Washington and impulsively and anonymously sleeps with a man in hopes of getting pregnant and starting a family with Barbara. When Nicky gives birth to Paul, her sister steps in to adopt Paul for his own “protection.”

Nicky, Barbara, and Paul escape Bluefield and make a life in upstate New York, only returning to Bluefield years later upon hearing of the death of Nicky’s sister. As their journey comes full circle, Barbara, Paul, and Nicky find their return to Bluefield is the catalyst for facing family secrets and forging family ties.”

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

This story takes place between 1960 and 1983 and follows the lives of Nicky and Barbara.  The story is interesting especially as you place it into historical context and realize how much more difficult it was to be in a same sex relationship in the 60’s and 70’s and the extent that they had to hide their relationship.  Having said that there were definitely times where I couldn’t fathom some of the decisions that Nicky would make just assuming that everything would be wonderful.  She’s not just wearing rose colored glasses she has an entire rose colored bubble around her.  I was disappointed in the lack of ramifications from several of these decisions.  Especially the one where Nicky sleeps with a stranger because she’s always wanted a child.  I just couldn’t relate to Barbara’s non-response to (a) being cheated on and (b) Nicky making such a life altering decision for both of them… without any input from Barbara.

Half way through the story, I realized that although I couldn’t relate to Nicky’s decision making process the story itself was interesting in that it portrays two women living their lives like any other couple and that not all relationships look the same.

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