I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
Anna is a 28-year-old lawyer with an unexpected crush on a coffee shop owner named Chaise – “unexpected” because, up until now, she'd always believed herself to be strictly heterosexual. She and Chaise begin dating and are happy together, but one worry stands out in Anna's mind. She's already a bit of a black sheep in her family because of her choice to pursue a career in law rather than a family. Can her traditional Catholic family accept that she has fallen in love with a woman?
I've read several “gay for you” books and stories, but I think this is the first “lesbian for you” one I've come across (strike that, Olivia Stowe's By the Howling might count – it was just focused way more on the mystery than the romance). So, that aspect was a surprise. I'm not sure it was a welcome one. Because the story was written in the first person, from Anna's perspective, I got to see exactly how much this shift in her life did not bother her. She fretted over being good in bed, but that was about it. She didn't even worry about what her family would think until she was waiting outside her parents' house to introduce Chaise to them for the first time.
First person POV works best for me if the narrator's “voice” is different and interesting. Anna's unfortunately wasn't. I felt like I barely knew her better than Chaise, and all I knew about Chaise was that she was one of the owners of a coffee shop, she rode a motorcycle, and her parents accepted her sexuality.
Chaise and Anna's relationship had an insta-love feel. Anna's reaction to Chaise was so intense that I found it hard to believe that she had only just realized she was attracted to her – supposedly, she'd visited the coffee shop several times prior to the start of the story, just to see Chaise. The two of them got along perfectly, right from the start. They never argued, the sex was always fantastic, and they fit into each other's lives like they'd always been together. It was incredibly boring. The only rough spot in their relationship was Anna's mother's lack of acceptance of them.
A lot of the story was “tell” over “show,” which contributed to my boredom. The sex scenes were probably the most vivid parts, and, since I'm not a fan of dirty talking, I tended to skim those. There were pages and pages about Anna meeting Chaise's friends, Anna and Chaise hanging out together, and Anna having a meal with her family, all with less dialogue and fewer descriptions of people interacting than I would have liked. This was most true during the first part of the story, before Anna broke the news about her girlfriend to her family. Some of the later scenes were a bit better – the christening Anna attended comes to mind – but it still felt like much of the story was summarized. It also made it harder to connect with the characters and, as a result, some of the scenes I was probably supposed to think were very emotional came across as being a bit preachy.
In the end, this story didn't really work for me, and I have no plans to seek out any of Ryan's other works.
(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)