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Another good Radclyffe romance
on 9 February 2014
Tess has a dream, to turn her family dairy farm into an organic milk producer. Since her stepfathers death she has planned and worked to get the land and the herd through the registration process. The farm is her world and it is threatened by the heat and the drought. But it is hers.
Clay is the heiress to Northam, a company specializing in gas extraction that regularly sparks intense resentment and distrust from the local communities. She spends her life travelling the world at the beck and call of her domineering and controlling father, troubleshooting issues with locals and overseeing projects.
15 years before they were both just 17 year olds exploring the world for the summer at Lake George. Tess working at the lodge for a summer of freedom, Clay as the rich girl trying to escape the trappings and restraints of her life. For one brief moment they had meant everything to each other, until Clay left without a word, breaking Tess's innocent and unworldly heart.
When Clay is sent to oversee the proposed gas field in the Hudson Valley she is drawn like a moth to the flame of Tess's farm. Can Tess forgive? Can Clay be trusted? Or will the battle for the land and their shared history be too big a divide?
I liked Tess, her resonance with the land and her dreams of creating a modern organic farm make interesting reading. Clay is the archetypal baddie butch roaring up on her motorcycle, heiress to the big industrial company that everybody thinks of as an eco-rapist.
The plot of small local famers trying to defend their land against fracking while the big landowners sell them out for better deals and the industrialists steamroller across the country is both timely and well researched.
The subplots of Tess's attraction to the extremely interesting Ella, and Jimmy's obsessive puppy dog attraction for Tess add some layering to the book. In addition both women's relationship with their fathers adds a history of deceit - even though these relationships are not explored, the men's influence and power over their lives is apparent.
I always like Radclyffe sex scenes, and this was no exception. It was, if anything, more raw and needy than her more recent books. I personally like that Tess has grown into her strength, that she takes what she wants, stands up for herself and forces Clay to recognize her as a strong and independent woman in and out of the bedroom. It all comes down to personal preference, and I like the butch giving up her domination and allowing herself to be controlled.
It is good to catch up with Dev and Leslie from "When Dreams Tremble", but I have to say this romance is very similar and the characters even resemble each other. I would have liked to see more tension, more development. Ella could have been more of a threat. Tess could have fought harder to defend the land from drilling. Radclyffe could have taken us further and explored just how badly Clay's father takes her standing up to him for the first time.
This is another standard Radclyffe romance. It is a light and pleasant read, unthreatening and unchallenging, but good entertainment. If you love Radclyffe's books you will love this and if you are new to her romances this is a good starting point.
(Publishers review copy received)