Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri VaunCrossing The Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun is a wonderful romance and it has one of my favorite themes – women who dress as men to get a fair shot. In this one we meet Cody and Lillie.

Cody escapes her father’s beatings by taking her sister and running away from home. She drops her sister with their aunt and embarks on a journey out of Arkansas towards California. The road is dangerous, though, so she dresses like a man as protection.

Lillie departs from the great city of New York after her uncle dies and leaves her a homestead on the frontier in Kansas. With the prospect of becoming the local school teacher for the tiny town near her new homestead, she heads West, despite her well-off family’s protestations.

What Lillie doesn’t disclose to her family is how little she desires to follow the traditional path of marriage and she just cannot understand why her sisters swoon over handsome boys.

Cody and Lillie meet in Independence, Missouri, and their stories become intertwined as fate pushes them together.

But that is just the beginning of the story. Sprinkle in some adventure, a sizzling slow burn romance and some unexpected characters and you have a great read.

A book I highly recommend.

The Characters

I love how Vaun writes butch characters and Cody is no exception. A good butch character will always steal my heart and without hesitation, Cody did. She is endearing, even when she is being a little dense about her feelings.

Lillie is the perfect counterpart to Cody. She is willful and feisty and kind and sweet and so gorgeous that it makes Cody’s heart beat faster just thinking about the feisty femme.

The story had a number of side characters too who were a fun part of the story and it was easy to keep track of who was who.

May is a character we see right at the end of the book and I want her story. Read the book and tell me if you agree.

The Writing Style

Vaun writes beautifully. Her descriptions of feelings, landscapes and occurrences put me right in the heart of the action. I found it difficult to stop reading because I was so drawn in by this story.

The Narration

AJ Ferraro was a great narrator for the audiobook. The voices for each character was unique, the timing and pacing of the storytelling kept me entertained without going too fast and the emotion she injected into it was spot on.

I loved this as a book and doubly love it as an audiobook.

The Pros

My absolute favourite part of the story was the trip to the farm. I loved to read about the journey and really feel like I could experience it with the characters.

I also loved Vaun’s descriptions of Lillie’s art and her experiences painting. It is clear that Vaun is an artist herself.

The Cons

Right at the beginning of the book we meet Cody’s sister. She is left behind with an aunt as Cody travels West. And there is a mention or two of her later in the book but no resolution to her story. I felt a little sad about that. I am hopeful that Vaun writes a follow up book about her.

sheena's favouritevictorias favourite booksThe Conclusion

You should absolutely read this book. It is beautifully written, the characters are memorable and well thought out, the storyline is not predictable and it will draw you in. The imagery is vivid and so well done.

I loved this book and you will too.

Excerpt from Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun

Women expected a gentleman to behave in a certain way, and Cody kept forgetting that as far as anyone else was concerned, she was a man and her behavior should align with her sex.

Lillie accepted Cody’s outstretched hand but made no immediate move to climb up into the buckboard. She hesitated, studying Cody closely. And as she did, she held Cody with her eyes as if some silent conversation was taking place between them in a language that Cody didn’t fully understand.

A tingling sensation flowed through her fingers, lightly holding Lillie’s. The sensation traveled up her arm and settled in the short hairs at the back of her neck. Unsure of what had just passed between them, she was about to take a step away from Lillie when Lillie slipped her foot onto the spoke of the large wagon wheel and braced against Cody’s hand as she climbed up. Lillie’s cheeks looked flushed as she regarded Cody from the high bench seat.

Cody leaned against the side of the wagon, lowered her head into the shadow of the sideboard, and took a deep breath. It must just be the heat.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number:  9781626398511
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
  • Narrator: AJ Ferraro

Missouri Vaun Online 


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Note: I received a free review copy of Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun. 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