Megan G reviews Mail Order Bride: A Romantic Comedy with a Lesbian Twist by Rachel Windsor

Liz Coleman likes to think of her life as a romantic comedy. She has her two best friends, Ann and Elle, a decent job, and quirky neighbours. All that’s really missing from her romantic comedy is, well, a love interest. A moment of impulsivity causes her to sign up for a mail order bride program, in hopes that this will finally be her happy ending. The only problem? The first thing her mail order bride says to her when they meet is “You are not a man.”

Are you looking for a light and easy romance? Do you love romantic comedies, but find yourself asking “why can’t this story be about lesbians?” when you watch them? Do you want to just curl up an lose yourself in a book for a couple of hours? Well, look no further, because this is the story for you!

Mail Order Bride is just on the right side of corny. The story is a bit cliched, but it works within the confines of the genre. Reading this book really felt like watching a romantic comedy play out before me. Although the writing is a bit simplistic at times, and a lot of moments feel rushed, Rachel Windsor really has a way of putting you right in the moment. I could literally see the story as if I were watching a movie (which, by the way, I would love to see this made into a movie).

My only real frustration comes in the form of the love story. While there’s definitely build-up to it, I never really felt like these two characters had much romantic chemistry, and when they finally get together it feels almost random. It’s too fast, honestly, and comes after an unnecessary amount of ups-and-downs (the kind that work really well in movies, but in books leave you scratching your head and wondering how things got resolved and then messed up again so quickly).

There is a bit of racism sprinkled throughout the text, in the form of Liz’s neighbor and landlord, who is also believed to have gotten a mail order bride. His, of course, is an Asian woman (whose country of origin is never specified) who is twenty years younger than him. It is pretty frustrating, especially since Liz’s mail order bride comes from the Ukraine, and therefore it’s clear that the author is aware that she didn’t have to include a racist stereotype in order to move that particular aspect of the plot forward. It’s also frustrating considering Ming Ling is the only explicitly non-white character in the story.

All of that aside, this book is sweet and sincere, with just the right amount of cheese. The friendships make me yearn for a close group of queer women friends, and the way that Liz’s mail order bride slowly fits herself into the group is so fun to read. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read about an adorable lesbian just looking for The One and getting into a few romantic-comedy-style mishaps along the way.

Lena reviews “Prairie Women in Love” and “Dames with Dames” by Rachel Windsor

prairiewomeninlove   dameswithdames

Both “Prairie Women in Love” and “Dames with Dames,” by Rachel Windsor, are part of a series about lesbians through the ages.  “Written by lesbians for lesbians,” the tagline proudly proclaims.  In that sense, these two little pieces do not disappoint.  They are both short, easy to read on a lunch break and have charming plots that end with a smile.

“Prairie Women in Love,” set in the late 1800s, tells the story of a young woman who moves to Wisconsin to be a teacher and falls in love with the woman she’s replacing.  It’s an engaging plot, there is the ever-looming threat of marriage and other societal expectations, while a young women discovers the limits of her independence.  The characters are interesting and we’re happy to see them find a way to be together in the end.

“Dames with Dames” a 1940s noir, is equally charming.  Taking many cues from the staples of the detective genre, there is a Sam Spade-esque character and his beautiful secretary who are hired to help a woman in trousers recover a stolen ring.  Strangely, for something in the noir vein, there is no real darkness in this story.  The only truly dark character, the secretary’s boyfriend, never makes an appearance, and the secretary is quickly whisked to safety in the arms of her new client.  Even the detective, usually seen as an anti-hero, is more of a gruff uncle, confused but ultimately kind-hearted.  But even without the darkness, it’s an engaging story with a pleasant conclusion.

But for how nice both of these stories are, both of them could use some diversity.  Both sets of lovers present the clear dichotomy of a bunch/femme dynamic, which is all fine and good, but it would be nice to see couples on either side of that spectrum.  The sex scenes are also mostly identical and it was plenty nice the first time, but I would love to see something more character driven and less based on a continually retelling of the same smut scene that seems appear in all erotica.

Despite the similarities between the stories, they’re both very nice reads and it is always more fun to see more queer historical fiction.