Far From the World We Know by Harper Bliss is an excellent read. Its tone is reminiscent of At the Water’s Edge, but the skillful style, pacing, and plotting show how much Bliss has grown as an author since then.
Laura Baker has recently moved to Nelson, Texas, leaving her old life behind in Chicago. She’s living in her aunt’s house, visiting Milly at the nursing home every day, and trying not to think about the events that drove her move to Texas. When a cute woman runs into her at the grocery store, hits on her, and then asks her to redesign the tiny town’s newspaper, she retreats into her solitude, not ready for any new connections.
Tess Douglas is beyond excited when she meets the beautiful new butch in town and regrets coming on too strong when Laura shuts her out. Nelson doesn’t have a queer community, and she’s not willing to try another long distance relationship because she won’t move away from her family again. There’s something about Laura, though, which is why Tess is willing to wait and take what she can get, even if it’s just friendship.
Laura has experienced a trauma, which informs much of her behaviour with Tess and the other few people who are close to her. Milly is her only real family and she doesn’t trust most of her friends anymore, making it hard for her to let anyone in, especially romantically. By contrast, Tess is close to her parents and twin sister. She wants a romantic relationship, but not if it means leaving Nelson. She instinctively feels a pull toward Laura, but recognizes that she has to dial her eagerness back if she wants Laura to have any part in her life. Both characters experience tremendous growth and I loved seeing the difference between who they are at the beginning and who they are at the end of the book.
The Writing Style
Far From the World We Know is beautifully written, with perfect pacing, and a story that is interesting and emotional. The sex is very well written, but it’s not overly erotic, which was exactly right for this book. Harper Bliss doles out information about Laura and her past so carefully that to talk about it would spoil the experience of reading the story (so much so, in fact, that I was tempted to turn in a review that just said “Don’t read anything about it; just read the book!”). I’m notorious for reading ahead, but I never did with Far From the World We Know because I knew it would be a mistake.
Everything? It’s well written with a compelling story and excellent character work. It also delicately and appropriately handles a sensitive topic, shedding light on an important issue that affects many lesbians even if we don’t necessarily hear a lot about it.
Far From the World We Know is an excellent book. It might not be my favourite of Harper Bliss’s books, but I think it just may be her best.
Excerpt from Far From the World We Know by Harper Bliss
“Is that okay?” I ask.
“Perfect.” She tilts her head back a bit, and some of her hair gets caught in my mouth and tickles my nose, but I don’t care. “Will you be able to go back to sleep?”
“No,” I say, truthfully, eliciting another giggle from Laura.
“Aren’t you exhausted from working on the ranch all day?” she asks, her body convulsing against mine a bit. “All those bulls that need taming and cows that need a-milkin’.”
“Hush now, girl,” I say in the dirtiest Texas accent I can muster.
“What do you do on the ranch exactly?” she asks.
“Just prance about in my coveralls with a blade of grass between my teeth, whistling and overseeing my land.”
“Is it ever possible to have a serious conversation about you?” Laura shifts against me—perhaps I’ve agitated her?—and, as a result, her ass presses hard into my belly.
“If you catch me at the right time.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 978-9881490933
- Publisher: Ladylit Publishing
Harper Bliss Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Far From the World We Know by Harper Bliss for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.