Atramentum by MJ DuncanAtramentum by MJ Duncan is the story of finding yourself when you least expect it.

Joss has been an accountant since she graduated. She worked hard and long hours. The book begins when she returns to Sky, Colorado for her aunt’s funeral. She doesn’t intend to stay but realizes that the bookstore her aunt left her might be the answer to leaving behind her sixteen-hour workdays and finding some kind of life.

Through Atramentum, the bookstore, and a run in with a delightful Great Dane Joss’s life changes forever.

The Characters

George, the Great Dane, was my absolute favourite. I adored her and was devastated by what happened toward the end of the book. Spoiler alert – she doesn’t die.

I like the way Duncan writes her characters, it is easy to remember who she is talking about and the characters have distinct personalities.

I enjoyed both main characters as well as their friends and family.

The Writing Style

Duncan has a great writing style. The pacing is good, and the story arc was typical of Duncan. The women get together early on and then have a  fair amount of happily ever after before something else happens and they need to deal with it together.

If you enjoyed her other novels you will enjoy this one. I think it’s adorable.

The Pros

I like the writing style and the story was charming. It’s a gentle read, don’t look for too much angst here.

The Cons

The cover.

The Conclusion

It is a lovely read and well worth it if you want a sweet romance that is not too dramatic and will have you longing to visit the small town where they live and visit the bookstore just so you can meet the characters.

Well worth it.

Excerpt from Atramentum by MJ Duncan

She swore loudly in surprise as she went down, dropping the clothes she had been holding as her hands scraped over loose gravel in a painful attempt to cushion her fall. Her heart raced as she tried to see what had run into her, but she did not need to look far as a large tongue licked up the side of her face, leaving a slobbery trail from her chin to her temple.

“F*#@ing hell. Really?” Joss sat up and shook her head. A black Great Dane Wiggled happily in front of her, the white blaze on its chest bobbing back and forth with every energetic hop as it stared at her with what she swore was a self-satisfied smile on its face. “Are you the one who took me out?” she asked the dog as she climbed to her feet.

The dog cocked its head, its tongue lolling to the side as it stared at her. “You need to work on your approach, buddy. That is not how you pick up women,” she lectured as she scratched the dog behind the ear, her olive-toned skin pale against the dog’s dark coat. She spun the large red collar on the dog’s neck to look for a tag, and pulled her phone out of her pocket as she read, “George Dylan. 2 North Star Drive, which means that George was one of her neighbours who lived in the house up the road by the lake. “Hello neighbour.”

George’s tail wagged in an energetic circle that had his whole body shaking.

“Pleased to meet you, too,” Joss chuckled as she began dialing the contact number on George’s tag. She had just finished punching in the area code when a panicked, slightly breathless female voice rang out from just beyond the tree line, “Goddamn it, George! Where are you?”

Joss looked at the dog and grinned. “I think your mom’s pissed.”

George’s tail dropped, and he looked warily over his shoulder at the woods.

“No, you can’t run away.” Joss gripped his collar tighter. “I’ve got him!” she hollered back and she chuckled at the way George buried his head into the back of her knees to hide. “You are so busted,” she teased the dog as she crouched down and scratched behind his ears.

George licked her face and rolled over, and Joss laughed as she began rubbing his belly. “Oh. George is a girl,” she observed as she scratched up and down the dog’s ribs. “My bad.”

George, for her part, did not seem to mind being misgendered as she squirmed on her back, trying to force Joss’ hands where she wanted them.

The sound of branches snapping beneath hurried footfalls drew Joss’ eyes to the trees, and her jaw fell open when the woman who had been chasing George jogged out of the woods. The woman was of average height – though her heights was the only thing “average” about her. On a scale from one to ten, she was easily a twelve, and Joss licked her lips as she watched her jog across the clearing, her thick blond hair bobbing around her shoulders with every step like something out of shampoo commercial. She was dressed casually in a pair of dark green wash jeans and a deep green fleece pullover that, Joss noticed as the woman stopped in front of her, highlighted the bright green eyes that stared back at her from behind the woman’s ridiculously sexy black-framed glasses. Her cheeks were pink with exertion and her lips were curled in a smile that was unabashedly relieved, though she did seem to be striving for annoyed as she stared George down.

It had been a long time since Joss had felt that heart-racing flutter of attraction that rippled in her chest now, and she cleared her throat as she pushed herself to her feet.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9780692668856
  • Publisher: Escape Books

MJ Duncan Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Atramentum by MJ Duncan. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

About the author

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Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born