Storm Season by Pene Henson is a lovely romance that snuck up on me. I’m almost tempted to tell you to read nothing about it and just go dive into the book, but that wouldn’t make for a very good review.
Lien Hong is so not into camping, and yet she’s let her friends talk her into it anyway. A party girl from Sydney who writes about music and fashion, she has no idea how to pack for the trip, even if she’s looking forward to the music festival they’ll be attending halfway through it. When she wanders off on their first night and injures herself just as a storm rolls in, she’s lucky to be rescued by a wilderness ranger who takes Lien into her cabin and lets her wait out the weather.
Claudia Sokolov left Sydney and its music scene for good reason and has enjoyed her three years of solitude. She has no desire to share her cabin with anyone, but the storm has given her and Lien no choice until the washed out road clears up. The more they get to know each other, the more something seems to be there. Can their connection make it as Lien goes back to Sydney?
The character work is really strong in Storm Season, especially when it comes to Claudie and Lien. Both women think they know who they are and what they want, but meeting each other helps shed light on what’s really important and nudges them to pursue the things that will truly make them happy. This means that by the end of the book, each woman is a better fit for the other because they’ve grown in ways that are good for themselves and not just what will shape them to better fit a relationship together.
There are some interesting side characters between all of Claudie and Lien’s friends. I was especially happy to see Beau, Lien’s roommate who is a trans man. The author was very careful with how she handled him and I was pleased to see him headed towards his own angst-free happily ever after.
The Writing Style
The writing in this book is gorgeous and atmospheric, and the third person present tense had me gripped all the way through. The pacing is careful, yet not slow, deftly guiding us through Lien and Claudie’s growth. Storm Season is a character driven story, and a satisfying one at that, because I never found myself longing for more to the plot.
Also, Cheyenne Blue told me in a comment on The Lesbian Review Book Club that it’s a very Australian book. As a Canadian I can’t really identify that, but I trust her and so should you!
I loved the romance, the characters and their respective arcs, the way the author writes friendship, and the sex writing is perfect for this book. Everything worked for me.
Some people won’t like the fact that Lien is seeing someone when she leaves for her trip and is with Claudie at her cabin, even if Lien isn’t exclusive with that woman. It’s an integral part of her character growth, though, so if you can stand to read that, do give it a try.
Storm Season is the first book I’ve read from Pene Henson and I hope she writes many more lesfic stories, because I absolutely adored this one. Pick it up when you have a few hours free and want to sink into some luscious writing, because this book is amazing.
Excerpt from Storm Season by Pene Henson
In bed, Lien is careful to lie at the edge with her body straight up and down.
“You don’t seem particularly comfortable,” says Claudia. Her voice is amused.
“I am. It’s fine. I’m good.”
“I’ll get some ice for you to put on your knee again.”
“Oh. Thank you.” Lien keeps still.
Minutes later Claudie hands over the ice, which is wrapped in a tea towel. Lien wraps her knee and lies down.
“I appreciate it,” she says. “You’ve done so much for me.”
When Claudie climbs into bed, she leaves a large space in between them as though it might hurt to brush up against Lien in the night. Lien tries not to be offended. She was doing the same thing.
“Thank you for sharing your bed with me,” Lien says. Manners are doubly important when sharing a bed with the superhero ranger who rescued you.
“Not a problem.”
Lien smiles into the dark. It’s not as if she and Claudie bonded all day. They chatted; they worked side by side. They cooked. Claudie played music. They admired the view. It wasn’t a remarkable day, really. But Lien is beginning to know Claudie. And knowing Claudie matters to Lien.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781945053160
- Publisher: Interlude Press
Pene Henson Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Storm Season by Pene Henson. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.