The Woman At The Edge Of Town by Georgette Kaplan is a story that combines two totally opposite story themes yet they work so cohesively. What you’d expect with a “coming of age” story is turned on its head by Kaplan when she also introduces BDSM. It’s different, yet I feel it allows for important topics to be discussed. In addition, Kaplan gives us two characters that learn to move past the grief that connects them and into a desire that will solidify their future together.
Sarah Kay is having the worst year. She’s dropped out of college, hasn’t dealt with her father’s death, and now she’s back living with her mother in her hometown. All isn’t entirely lost because she still has her friends and her boyfriend, who is as loyal as they come. Then, a chance encounter with reclusive millionaire, Nina Rose, on a dark highway leads to a highly lucrative gardening job. At first, Sarah is just happy to do her job. Soon she becomes more curious about the enigmatic woman who was her father’s star pupil for years. The more time she spends time in Nina’s company, the deeper their connection becomes. Soon Nina is all Sarah can think about. She is pulled in by the secluded woman’s charm and intelligence. But Nina is a loner for a reason, and while she shares Sarah’s attraction, her reluctance maybe enough to keep her from pursuing a relationship with Sarah.
Both women long for an intimate connection. Through mutual respect and a lot of trust, they may just find one that is deeper and more personal than either could ever imagine.
What I like about both of these women is they are connected from the very beginning, even though they’ve had very little personal interaction.
Sarah has just turned twenty, but she’s in a funk. She’s left college, living with her mother, and working at a dead end job as a shelf stocker in the local grocery store. She is, basically, adrift in her life since her father, Robert, died. She doesn’t have much direction or desire to do anything. All she has is her friends and her boyfriend, yet even he doesn’t feel right anymore. She’s practically in a haze, until an unexpected run in with Nina Rose. Suddenly, she starts having these strange feelings and desires every time she’s in Nina’s presence. It unhinges her momentarily. Then the pieces start to fall into place, everything begins to make sense, and that thing she always felt was off has suddenly adjusts itself right side up with Nina Rose.
Nina Rose is characterized as the town recluse. Her one true human connection to the town was her mentor, Robert Kay, Sarah’s father, and he died in a tragic accident. Since his death, she’s not very sociable, giving her the reputation of a hermit. However, she is very intelligent and very intriguing. Especially to Sarah. Nina notices the vibrant young woman Sarah has become. While she would like nothing more than to be with Sarah intimately, her own past dictates her actions and she knows she must proceed with caution.
The Writing Style
While this has all the makings of a Kaplan story – witty dialogue, intriguing characters, etc. – it’s the first coming out story I’ve read that has a steamy side to it. Sarah’s thoughts and feelings regarding Nina are not PG rated. She feels a longing and a desire like never before, and she verbalizes those desires in great detail. It’s definitely not what I expected, but I’m glad Kaplan took this direction. By having Sarah’s thoughts uncensored, we get to truly see just how she yearns to be with Nina, to learn from her, and to build a meaningful relationship with her.
I love how Kaplan emphasizes the issue of consent. Nina is more experienced than Sarah. Therefore she has a responsibility to make sure Sarah’s comfortable with their activities and also make her aware she has a choice. And whatever Sarah’s choice is, Nina will always respect it. It’s refreshing to see an author address this often overlooked, yet very important, issue.
I felt the timeline was too compressed. I got the impression that Sarah had only been working for Nina for days, not weeks, before they started exploring a personal relationship. Of course that might’ve just been my interpretation because I do love a good slow burn romance. However, I feel that maybe a few extra moments of Sarah working in Nina’s garden could’ve helped with that.
I’ve learned with Kaplan to expect intelligent, witty dialogue, as well as the unexpected. Her decisions with Sarah and Nina bring a refreshing look at a very important time in a young woman’s life, and she allows them to be true to their desires in the process. It’s funny, intriguing, and steamy in all the right places. You’ll definitely have fun reading this one.
Excerpt from The Woman At The Edge Of Town by Georgette Kaplan
“Ms. Rose,” [Sarah] stammered out, trying to maintain eye contact. Nina was making her feel inadequate from the neck up; no need to look further. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Meet you again, I mean.”
“We have met before, you know.” Nina took another padding step down another creaking stair. “One of your birthday parties, when I was new in town. You were ten – as I recall. I was seventeen.” She looked Sarah over, her eyes seeming to suck in all of Sarah’s body. “It seems like yesterday you weren’t even as high as my boots.”
Nina in boots. Sarah blushed for no reason she could figure out. “Well, I’ve filled out a lot – grown a lot,” she corrected hastily. “Ms. Rose, I’m a little unsure why I’m here…”
“For the reward, of course.” Nina’s voice flowed into Sarah’s own words like wine filling a crystalline glass. She took another step, the tap of her heels muted on the carpeted steps, then the uncomplaining creak of it taking her weight.
“For the other night. You saved my life,” Nina said. “Do you prefer Sarah or Ms. Kay?”
“Whatever you like is fine, Ms. Rose.”
“I prefer Nina. And that would make you Sarah.” Nina descended to the landing with a little exaggerated flourish. “There. Now we’re on equal footing.”
Lame joke. Sarah laughed, not falsely.
“Say it,” Nina said.
Sarah was momentarily confused, but those dark eyes pressed in on her, and then she just knew: “Nina.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783963241871
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
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