Written by: Tara Scott
Category: Australian Leading Lady, Book Review, Contemporary, Law, Lesbian Fiction, Romance, Series, Small Town, Sweet Romance (with little angst), Tara's Favourites
Tags: cheyenne blue, Ylva Publishing
Not-So-Straight Sue by Cheyenne Blue is the second book in her Girl Meets Girl series and, dare I say it? I liked it even more than Never-Tied Nora (and I liked that one a whole lot). Although it fully stands alone, I was glad I’d read Never-Tied Nora first, because I enjoyed seeing Nora and Geraldine again and I came into this story excited to read about Sue and her journey.
Sue Brent is straight. Super, duper, extra straight. That’s what she’s been telling herself for 10 years, anyway, and the words “Sorry, I’m straight” roll off her tongue so easily that everyone believes her, including her best friend. Only Moni, an American tourist, saw through the lie, even if she didn’t call her out for it. Sue’s life is fantastic with a big promotion about to land in her lap at the law firm she works at in London, incredible friends who are like family, and more amazing restaurants and pubs than she could imagine just a quick walk or ride away. And yet, something isn’t right. After years of living so far away from Australia, the outback calls her home and Sue answers, taking a year-long contract running a rural law practice in the remote, tiny town of Mungabilly Creek.
Once back in Australia, Sue finally has the courage to do what she needed to a decade prior and comes out officially to her family. Now fully out, Sue finds the authentic life so much better, with “Sorry, I’m not straight” rolling off her tongue even more easily than the opposite phrase had before. When Moni takes a position with the Flying Doctors only a few hours away from Sue, it seems like she has the chance to explore something more, if only her ex-girlfriend from highschool doesn’t screw everything up by showing up unannounced in Mungabilly Creek.
I knew coming into this book that I’d like Sue because she was a fantastic sidekick in Never-Tied Nora, and it didn’t disappoint! Sue is warm and funny, good at her job, and exactly the kind of coffee buddy I’d love to have. The way she wrestles with her identity, suppressing the part of herself that is queer, is heartbreaking and difficult at times, and makes all the sense in the world when we learn why she did it. As someone who didn’t figure themself out for a long time for different, but relatable reasons, I identified with Sue more than most characters I’ve read in lesfic, and she’ll long hold a special place in my heart.
Moni is such a wonderful, perfect partner for Sue. She’s equally warm and funny, more naturally comfortable in her own skin, and is so good at encouraging Sue and helping her be her best self. I enjoyed every moment she and Sue spent with each other, even when they were interacting over email, because their connection crackles.
There are many side characters in Not-So-Straight Sue, and they’re all really well done. Nora and Ger were a delight to revisit and I was pleased with how much we got to see and hear of them. Felix, the woman who runs the outback hospitality business that Sue visits on her way to Mungabilly Creek, is a super sexy older woman whose book is the third in the series. Denise, Sue’s ex-girlfriend from highschool, is a real piece of work and I haven’t been so angry at a character in a long time. Also, Mrs. T, Sue’s housekeeper in Mungabilly Creek, adds a motherly voice of reason as Sue figures out what her new life looks like.
The Writing Style
Not-So-Straight Sue has a really easy style to it that sucked me in and left me wholly content by the time I was done. Although it doesn’t really follow the typical beats of a romance and is more about Sue’s personal journey (both literal across the outback and metaphorical as she begins to live openly as a lesbian), it so satisfying and my heart was so happy at the end.
I’ll say this about the writing too: despite seeing the crisis point coming (I mean, it’s even mentioned in the blurb on the back of the book), it still had me so angry. That takes some serious writing skills.
I liked everything. The characters are great, the pacing worked well for me, and the setting was fascinating. I was also surprised at how many Australian words I knew (although I did give my Kindle’s dictionary function its first workout in a long time).
I loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it. I don’t necessarily want to go to the outback now because, well, dangerous snakes etc, but I’ll happily revisit this book again and again.
Excerpt from Not-So-Straight Sue by Cheyenne Blue
“About time you got home.” The voice, low, feminine, and decidedly American, drifted down from the veranda above me. “It’s hot as hell here, I can’t find the switch for your air con, and all your beer is gone. I was about to go to the hotel for a six pack.”
I knew that voice. I hadn’t heard it in over three years except over a Skype connection, but it was unmistakable. Moni. How like her to turn up unannounced. I dropped the case, which hit the path with a thunk, and I took the veranda steps two at a time. My heart thudded in my chest, and I didn’t want to stop and analyse the euphoric feeling that flooded me, that made my fingers tingle and my mouth stretch into the biggest shit-eating grin. She was here. That was what mattered, and I couldn’t wait to see her.
She met me at the top of the steps, and I flung my arms around her and gave her a big hug. She hugged me back, and I was so wound up that I was about to kiss her, really kiss her, when she extricated herself and took a step back. Right. The Moni I’d been imagining, the one that might possibly be my girlfriend, was in my head. I hadn’t actually mentioned it to her yet.
Get This Book On Amazon
Girl Meets Girl Series
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955335977
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Cheyenne Blue Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Not-So-Straight Sue by Cheyenne Blue. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.