Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review- Every Waking Hour by Paisley Smith

Every Waking Hour
by Paisley Smith
January 1, 2013
Lesiban/Historical 50's/Erotic Romance
Pub: Loose Id LLC 
Words:  64.5 K

English professor Della Boyd has worked hard to carve out a career for herself in the male-dominated 1950s South. Having escaped an unpleasant childhood, she resolves to keep her nose to the grindstone and work her way up the university ladder. All that changes, however, when she meets her favorite author, Grayson Garland, whose androgynous beauty and taboo kisses cause Della to question everything she’s always believed.

When Grayson Garland returns to bury her father, the world renowned, eccentric Southern author sets the small town of Rome, Alabama on its ear. But the old antebellum mansion she once called home is haunted with dark secrets Gray is reluctant to face. Sultry nights in the arms of a pretty, oh-so-feminine professor provide ample distraction, but unless Gray can summon the courage to confront her demons, even Della’s love won’t be able to save her
from herself.

 (ps: what's with the woman on the cover looking 40-ish? When I saw the cover I thought it's a story about an older spinster, which would have been cool too!)

I think this is Paisley Smith’s best book yet. It’s longer than her usual story with perfect pacing between the love story build-up, tension and sex, and it the first book I’ve read in a while that I couldn’t put down.

Anyone who has followed my reviews knows that I’m particularly fond of Paisley Smith’s books, her writing style and content. So you might this review worth a grain of salt. However, this book felt the most polished and intense of all her books so far so I will have to rave about it.

I loved that this book is set in a small town in the 50’s. That in itself is unusual. And to have a lesbian story set in the 50’s is even more intriguing. Both characters are so nicely and complexly written as well. Ms. Smith really offers an in depth background on how they come to be who they are and why each reacts to the other the way they do.

While this story is full of the usual amount of sex for a Paisley Smith book, meaning frequent, intense and fairly graphic, this story also deals with, in a rather somber way, a serious issue that can cause many problems in a relationship and which doesn’t come up as a common foil. This-- outside of the fact that they are two women falling in love at a time when it was not acceptable on any level.

Della is quiet professor of English and is using a local famous Pulitzer Prize winning author’s books to teach English. Something about Grayson Garland’s books speaks to her in ways she likes but doesn’t get. She leads a quiet life, lives with her brother and dates the English department head occasionally. She doesn’t feel that excited about her love life, nor was she impressed with the one time they they had sex.

Grayson, being a famous author and having the confidence that comes with that, is not shy or ashamed of the fact that she likes to dress like a man and is a lesbian. She walks into a coffee shop where Della is grading papers on Grayson’s book and is immediately attracted to Della’s softness and femininity. Sitting at her table uninvited and shocking Della, Grayson then proceeds to correct Della’s student’s papers making Della angry at how her most loved author is being criticized by this freak who clearly knows nothing of great writing or of the writer’s intentions in what she wrote. Plus, everyone is looking at them.

I loved this set up. It creates a delicious spark of tension right off the bat.

The sexual tension between these two is hot right from the start, but simmers unfulfilled until just the right moment when both have gotten more emotionally attached and want more than just the sex. Della, never having been attracted to a woman before, finds herself mesmerized by the strong sexual desire she’s developing for Grayson. Della just can’t resist how feral and intense Grayson is in going after her. Nor does she want to. Even though she’s well aware of what that might mean and how it can affect her life, so compelling is Grayson she can’t stop herself.

Grayson for her part doesn’t waver once on her desire and need to have Della in her life. However, her troubled past and how she’s dealt with and is still dealing with it is not sitting well with Della for reasons that have to deal with her own past. Grayson is portrayed as having a volatile mix of being cocky and aggressive with being deeply vulnerable making her a bit unstable and tortured. This makes it very hard for a very composed Della to deal with and causes a lot of conflict in her.

Fortunately, Paisley Smith walked a nice line here. I have a hard time with a tortured character who keeps pushing the love interest away because they feel sorry for themselves or feel unworthy. In this case Grayson keeps reaching out, not pushing Della away, which gave her an endearing quality and made it believable that Della would fight for them even against her own insecurities and fears.

I also felt that Grayson’s issue was dealt with in an honest and poignant way giving this love story just a bit more depth than your usual fall in love romance.

I definitely recommend this book. Yeah, there are a few issues but they were so minor compared to the whole effect. Wish I had another like it to read. 

Heat Level: 5- frequent, graphic sexual situations

Grade: Loved it!

1 comment:

Paisley Smith said...

Thanks very much for a wonderful review and for reading EWH. It was a very different style of writing for me and probably had the most autobiographical elements of any of my characters. I very much appreciate your taking the time to review it.