Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review- Jesse's Homecoming by Jude Mason

Jesse’s Homecoming

by Jude Mason
Western historical/ Lesbian
Short Novella-12,000 words

Buy it Phaze- $3.00

When Jesse returns from a weekend of wandering in the hills to find her lover, Meg, being brutally raped by an ex-husband she'd escaped from years ago, Jesse fires her gun, wounding the man. Battered and bruised, Meg is sure she's unlovable. It's up to Jesse to prove her wrong and to get the monster she'd married sent to prison.

What a sweet little short story Jesse’s Homecoming is. Despite the subject matter, Jude Mason managed to create a beautiful love story between two women that totally expressed how touching and deep a woman’s love for another woman can be.

Jesse and Meg are in love and share a good life together on a ranch. Jesse, being the younger one, goes out for a couple of days to check on things around the land. When she gets back, it's too quiet and the normal things that should be happening aren’t, telling Jesse that something is drastically wrong.

When she enters the cabin with her gun drawn, she finds Meg bruised and bloodied, pinned to the bed with a disgusting looking man on top of her and she shoots him when he tries to get his gun. He claims that Meg is his wife and that he has a right to do what he wants with her, which of course doesn’t sit well with Jesse and she rips him a new one.

Normally I don’t like to read stories when rape or the after effects are so graphically described, however, I feel that Jude Mason handled this with a lot of sensitivity and in a way that I didn’t feel overwhelmed with those feelings of rage that come up when I do read about or watch a rape in film. But just for clarification for those who do have issues with reading it, the rape itself is not described; the story takes place just after.

Meg is in an awful state when Jesse gets to her, but Jesse’s soft, loving energy towards Meg and Meg’s strength and fortitude shine through, making that part easier to read and take in. Right from the get-go Jesse doesn’t pity Meg, but reminds her how much she loves her over and over as she lovingly washes her and reassures her that she will be there for her and will not leave her no matter what. Plus there are some nice revenge moments.

The sexual scene between these two was done with a lot of thoughtfulness as well, I thought. Considering the subject matter in this story, even though the sex was written in very graphic and erotic terms, it comes off more as tender and affectionate and not salacious as it would in a normal situation, which I really appreciated in this case.

One thing that did come up for me was that I felt it was a bit too much for Jesse to try and have sex with Meg just after she’s been raped even though she did it to prove to Meg that she was still wanted and desirable after being defiled like that. I got the feeling that it wasn’t only for Meg that Jesse did that, but because she needed it as well, which did feel a bit off for me.

I would think that even with the most sensitive of love making, getting turned on sexually right after a rape would not be a typical or even remotely possible response normally, as Meg did. In this case though, Jesse really is so gentle and loving with Meg, so it's possible to see that having a positive, nurturing sexual experience could help heal those wounds.

Moreover, I think Jude Mason got around this issue by the rapist being Meg’s ex-husband who had abused her non-stop when they were married. So while rape is rape, I could see how Meg might be able to compartmentalize that since she’s experienced his abuse so much in the past and therefore it might not have been as shocking to her as it would have been had it been the first time being raped or being raped by a stranger. But maybe that’s just my own justification here because I was left with such a warm and fuzzy feeling about these two characters and the way they are together.

Those issues aside, I was surprised at how much I did enjoy reading this story. I felt the deep emotional bond between Meg and Jesse was prominently and beautifully expressed throughout this story, so I would recommend it even though the subject matter might be difficult for some to deal with. Jude Mason has a nice easy flow to her writing that I found very pleasing. And I liked that Jesse’s Homecoming evoked many feelings in me, most especially positive feelings about women in love.

Sex rating: I’m not going to rate it. Technically the sex written here would be Orgasmic because it’s very erotic, however, due to the story content it’s more about the emotion.

Grade: B+

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