When you’re grown up, discovering a new friend that you absolutely adore is a bit like being hit on the head by a chunk of meteorite – it’s unlikely to happen and when it does it’s one helluva shock.
Recently I found a new friend who is one of the funniest, most interesting, wisest, and [insert your favourite adjective here] women I know or have known. She made me realise I’ve been mourning my best friend since her untimely death in 2003 and that I never expected to have another. I admit it’s a bit presumptuous to claim her as “bestie” – having neither consulted nor secured approval – but this is about me, so … so there.
Anyway, she’s written a terrific new book and I’d like you to know about it. After Mrs Hamilton is her second novel and it’s tremendous. Her first, Pennance, was pretty good too, but this one is on another level altogether.
More often than is acceptable the lesbian romantic genre is populated by romance-by-rote plots and wafer-thin characters; and let’s not start on the atrocious writing, absence of style and ignorance of plain English. After Mrs Hamilton is so different it’s astonishing.
It begins with Clo (Clothilde), a young Londoner whose clandestine night job is as a call girl specialising in “older” women clients. Her cover occupation is as a talented specialist baker of exquisite cakes and pastries – a job that enables her to disappear into the night and return in the early hours without raising eyebrows.
Clo goes off to a posh hotel to “service” a new client – the mysterious Mrs Hamilton – and it’s the beginning of one of the most intriguing and irresistible relationships in lesbian romance novel history. Every reader will imagine their own picture of Mrs Hamilton – the older Catherine Deneuve, for instance, not least because… well, if I go on with that thought it will need a spoiler alert.
Clo’s life is populated with friends and relations whose lives entwine with hers and with one another. The result is an uncommonly rich tapestry of characters and shorelines including one pair of women whose relationship will shock some and amaze others. You’ll have to read about them all for yourselves to find out who and why.
Meanwhile, you can find After Mrs Hamilton at Amazon in print or as an ebook, and also at Smashwords – give yourself a Christmas gift, and anyone else you’re fond of.