I sometimes struggle to pinpoint exactly what makes a good book for me. It’s not as simple as a genre or a specific author or writing style. The only way that I can really put it is that it makes me want to curl up in a chair with a hot cup of tea and get lost in it for a few hours. For me that feeling is how I know I’ve stumbled onto a good book, and The Revelation Of Beatrice Darby made me want to do just this.
This is a coming of age story intertwined with a romance. While this is not a story with a lot of action or drama, it is one filled with emotion and the understanding of what it feels like for a girl to discover that she likes girls and what it will do to her life.
The story revolves around Beatrice Darby (shocking, I know). She discovers that she is attracted to women when she reads a risqué scene in a novel she finds in a drug store. She starts off young, idealistic and naïve and as the story unfolds she matures and become more certain about what she wants. This, however, sometimes comes at the price of alienating those around her.
The book is very much centred around Beatrice with other minor characters, such as her strict, disapproving catholic mother, Gwen her beautiful and straight best friend and Abby, her first crush. Her relationships with these women ultimately shape Beatrice into the woman she is meant to be, even though at times the journey is painful.
The Writing Style
The writing style is quite lovely. Copeland manages to keep the book well paced while setting the era (late 50s and 60s) with the tone and language she uses while keeping the reader engaged.
This says a lot about her writing prowess as I find that when many authors try to do this it makes the book feel stilted and difficult to read.
The story is well strung together with Copeland showing real insight with Beatrice’s emotions and choices. While Beatrice can be selfish and impetuous, she still remains someone that you care about and you want her to have a happy ending.
I really felt for Beatrice, and the book made me re-examine my own life and how lucky I am to have an accepting family and live in an age and place where being a lesbian does not mean living a secret life.
None that I can really think of.
The revelation of Beatrice Darby at its epicentre is a story that many lesbians can identify with, it is the story of discovering oneself and learning to not only live with it but to also love it. This book is definitely worth a read.
Excerpt from The Revelation Of Beatrice Darby by Jean Copeland
Her heart raced as she snatched the paperback from the cluster of other tawdry romance novels on the bottom shelf. She pivoted toward the wall on the heel of her saddle shoes and began fanning through the pages.
A wash of heat flooded Laura’s face. She bent over Beth again, perfectly helpless to stop herself, and began to kiss her like a wild…
“What do you think you’re doing?” a woman hollered.
Beatrice flinched and dropped the book on the floor. As a woman scolded her son for stuffing penny candy down the front of his suspender pants, Beatrice kicked the book under a magazine rack until the mother-son riot ended with the mother dragging the red-faced, screaming boy from the drugstore. Exhaling with relief, Beatrice slid the book out from under the rack with her foot and poked through the pages to finish the titillating sentence.
‘…like a wild, hungry child, starved for each kiss, pausing only to murmur, ‘Beth, Beth, Beth…’
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 978-1626393394
- Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
- Jean Copeland Online
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