Cast Me Gently, by Caren J. Werlinger

7 Sep
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

I received an advance copy of this from NetGalley for review.

I loved it.
I just adored everyone in it, I laughed, I cried, I relived events from my own past. I hungered for pasta and wine, and donuts and cappuccino.

This is billed as a “classic lesbian romance” and I don’t really do romance novels. But this was more than that to me. It was a really great story that was about a romance. Set in 1980 Pittsburgh, it covered many other topics, such as the death of parents, the life of the homeless, the fact that the phrase “sexual harassment” did not exist in 1980 (Ahhh, I remember those days well), and gaining acceptance from your family when you have brought home an “other” as your partner. In 1980, there were all sorts of people who were considered “other”. Yes, I remember those days well too.

Teresa is a member of a very tight-knit Italian family, whose mother has already shut out Teresa’s brother for getting divorced and then marrying a non-Italian. For Teresa to bring home a woman under those circumstances, in 1980 even, well, that’s just not going to work.

Werlinger does a great job of recreating that first romance, that spark that is felt for the first time, that realization of the emotions, and then all the rationalizations that go through your head trying to conjure a reality where you can just bring your female lover over for Thanksgiving.”Everything will probably be FINE… I think… errrr…

Of course Girl meets Girl, Girl loses Girl, and then… does Girl get Girl back? This story is told realistically enough, with enough real life problems thrown in (not fake drama, real issues) that you really can’t be sure of the ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was a happy surprise of a book. It also brought back many memories of growing up in the 80s, when if you wanted to talk to someone you had to sneak down the stairs late at night, get the family phone and stretttttch that cord all the way into the closet so no one would hear you talk. The days when trying to find someone who wasn’t sitting right there next to a landline at home was pretty much impossible. And it perfectly captured the realities of living in a large, loud, Italian family. Everything about that family rang true to me, and it reminded me of how my own Italian grandmother had at least one disowned child at any given time.

For a “Classic Lesbian Romance” novel, this gets five solid stars.

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