Annie Heaphy is a young butch who makes ends meet by driving a cab in New Haven, Connecticut. She lives in a little shack on the beach, hangs out with her lesbian friends whenever she can, and generally loves her life as long as she can avoid the privileged kids who go to Yale.
Despite her aversion to “Yalies,” Annie’s life is turned upside down when she meets one at a gay bar in New York City and sees her again in New Haven. Victoria Locke is everything Annie would normally avoid, and yet she can’t seem to help herself as she and Victoria fall deeply in love.
Annie is a giant walking ball of emotions and I just love her. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants out of life and isn’t afraid to say it to anyone. Despite her bluster and bravado, when she falls for Victoria, she falls hard and it’s very sweet.
Some of the story is told from Victoria’s perspective, letting us see what she’s going through as Annie comes into her life. Victoria doesn’t seem to realize that being a lesbian is an option until two of her friends decide to try having a sexual relationship with each other, with Annie being the final catalyst to recognizing and embracing her sexual identity.
Although Toothpick House isn’t part of a series (if Goodreads and Amazon are to be believed), many of its characters will show up in later books by Lee Lynch. Given how much I enjoyed this one, I’m looking forward to reading all their other stories!
The Writing Style
Toothpick House is Lee Lynch’s first book, and while it may not be quite as crisp as The Swashbuckler or as masterful as Rainbow Gap, it’s still beautifully written. There’s so much passion in it, whether between Annie and Victoria or the desire for change that sweeps them and their friends into the feminist movement, making it a difficult book to put down.
Everything? Also, it’s really reasonably priced!
I really enjoyed Toothpick House and would happily recommend it to anyone, especially if you usually read contemporary books and want to shake things up a bit.
Excerpt from Toothpick House by Lee Lynch
Annie felt a blush rise up her neck and into her face. She thought she would be blinded by Victoria’s smile. All she could do was smile back, feeling as if she had been hit by a wave. They sat frozen by their smiles too long. Annie felt she had to cover the frankness of her own gaze or tell Vicky she had fallen in love with her. Or touch her. She laid her index finger gently on Victoria’s wrist, half expecting her to jump away. “Did you ever feel like the sea opened up and you were the naked wet thing that emerged?” she asked her, wondering at her boldness. “Did you ever feel the earth disassemble around you and then feel the pieces slowly fall back into their new places and know the world would never be the same again? Did you ever wonder if you were real?”
“Yes, to all three,” Victoria said, still looking into Annie’s eyes.
“When I was a kid,”Annie went on, “I used to walk down to the football field and across it to the train tracks. I’d walk along them, full of the big feeling of the field I’d crossed and imagine I could just keep walking forward along the tracks and they’d never, never end.” She sighed. “In the summer the grass on the field was so damn green and the tracks stretched into the bluest sky I ever saw. Everything was new and possible. I haven’t felt like that in a long time.” The blush which had left her face now returned as if she had just realized she was saying these things to a perfect stranger.
Victoria’s smile felt strained, frozen. She wanted to respond to Annie, but couldn’t think of anything to say. She shook her head again, trying to look sympathetic, wanting to tell Annie to go on. Even her name is delicious, she thought, her faded smile returning to her, Annie, Anne, so regal one way, so common the way Annie used it. And herself as Vicky. She never allowed that, but she couldn’t imagine Annie calling her anything else. She wanted to lay her lips on Annie’s fine hair.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781602822047
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Lee Lynch Online
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Note: I received a free review copy of Toothpick House by Lee Lynch. No money was exchanged for this review.