Audrey reviews Warm November by Kathleen Knowles


After a really fun experience with In Every Cloud by Tina Michele, also published by Bold Strokes Books, I downloaded Warm November. Hayley and Merle are both older lesbians, but Hayley’s newly out of the closet, while Merle’s just out of a long-term relationship. The last sentence of the synopsis is, “Can they overcome their misgivings and find true love?”

If they could not overcome their misgivings and find true love, then what kind of a romance would this be? Not the kind of romance wanted by the readers Bold Strokes is marketing to.

The setup is this: Hayley’s just divorced and looking for an apartment. Merle is newly single and looking for a roommate to share her awesome house in a very cool lesbian-oriented neighborhood. They’re a good roommate-match, and Hayley’s pretty sure Merle will be a good resource for Hayley’s foray into the dating world.

Merle’s been badly hurt. A little jaded, a little cautious, she’s been going to AA meetings for years, and that’s where she found her own primary support system, Sigrid and Clea. They’ve been a couple forever, and they’re adorable.

Hayley’s painfully clueless. Her naivete honestly tested my patience, it was so beyond belief. Hayley as a person: fine! Hayley as someone why used “The L Word” as a proto-manual for lesbianism, and who asks Merle the sorts of questions usually reserved for a befuddled anthropologist encountering a hitherto-unknown-to-Western-civilization tribe? No.

One of the difficulties I never considered in writing lesbian romances, particularly in sex scenes, is the handling of pronouns. Some books handle it deftly. This one was a bit clumsy. I was pushed outside of the scene a few times. Wait; who did what to whom? If this is something you can bypass (i.e., if grammar and sex don’t necessarily have to go together), it may not bother you.

On the whole, this was not my favorite book. If you love romances and the premise appeals to you, then try it. Tastes are deeply personal, after all. I’ll certainly go for a third Bold Strokes book.