In this episode of Les Do Books Wendy Hudson Shares 5 Lesfic Recommendations. She had a hard time narrowing her list down, so these are the best of the best!
Check out Wendy’s recommendations:
Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Available in Audiobook No
A wry, tender novel of sexual and intellectual awakening. Something made her risk a look at the reader, who took a sip of black coffee. And another. She turned the pages. She pursed her lips. Flannery abandoned her breakfast and watched the woman drink her coffee. It wasn’t that she wanted the coffee herself. That wasn’t it. Rather, she wanted to be the coffee: she envied the dark drink its chance to taste those lips.In a steam-filled diner in a college town, Flannery Jansen catches sight of something more beautiful than she’s ever seen: a graduate student, reading. Flannery, a seventeen-year-old, new to everything around her — college, the East Coast, bodies of literature, and the sexual flurries of student life — is shocked by her own desire to follow this beauty wherever it takes her. By chance she finds herself enrolled in a class taught by the remote, brilliant older woman; intimidated at first, she gradually becomes Anne Arden’s student outside class as well. Whatever the subject — Baudelaire, lipstick colors — Flannery proves an eager pupil, until one day she learns more about Anne than she ever wanted to know.A bittersweet, exhilarating, sentimental education, Pages for You confirms Sylvia Brownrigg as “one of the most exuberantly agile minds among younger American writers” (Dan Cryer, Newsday) and is her sexiest, most poignant work to date.
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell
Available in Audiobook yes, narrated by Katie Scarfe
Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District and a clutch of best-selling books to her name.
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops…. Or does it?
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir
Publisher ORENDA BOOKS
Available in Audiobook Yes, narrated by Suzannah Hampton
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son.
With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer whose years of experience frustrate her new and ever more daring strategies.
Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
A Story of Now by Emily O’Beirne
Publisher Ylva Publishing
Available in Audiobook No
Nineteen-year-old Claire Pearson knows she needs a life. And some new friends.
But brittle, beautiful, and just a little bit too sassy for her own good sometimes, she no longer makes friends easily. And she has no clue where to start on the whole finding a life front, either. Not after a confidence-shattering year dogged by bad break-ups, friends who have become strangers, and her constant failure to meet her parents sky-high expectations.
When Robbie and Mia walk into Claire’s work they seem the least likely people to help her find a life. But despite Claire’s initial attempts to alienate them, an unexpected new friendship develops.
And it’s the warm, brilliant Mia who seems to get Claire like no one has before. Soon, Claire begins to question her feelings for her new friend.
Tell it to the Bees by Fiona Shaw
Publisher Serpent’s Tail
Available in Audiobook Yes, narrated by Gordon Griffin
A spellbinding story of forbidden love in the 1950s, now a major movie starring Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger
A secret love which has a whole town talking … and a small boy very worried. Lydia Weekes is distraught at the break-up of her marriage. When her young son, Charlie, makes friends with the local doctor, Jean Markham, her life is turned upside down.
Charlie tells his secrets to no one but the bees, but even he can’t keep his mother’s friendship to himself. The locals don’t like things done differently. As Lydia and the doctor become closer, the rumours start to fly and threaten to shatter Charlie’s world.
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Find Wendy Hudson online
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
hi I’m Tara and welcome to les do books email me at Tara@thelesbianreview.com with any questions or comments are coming during our Facebook group the lesbian review book club I’m joined today by Wendy Hudson author of three lesbian fiction novels the latest is meant to be me and it’s available everywhere from Elva publishing welcome Wendy okay it’s good how are you I’m good thank you so you are here today to share some books that you think other people should read do you have any kind of a theme or anything like that not really I kind of cover a few different genres actually I know I spoke to you before and I got it down to like twelve favorites hich you told me was absolutely to many it is so I thought well I’ll maybe go for once on a list that I may be a little bit older or not quite so well-known there are a couple of newer titles but they’ve like already become favorites and a couple are also sort of more mainstream published maybe which actually makes them quite difficult to find so it’s always quite good when you come across a little Jam I think that’s been mainstream published but yeah I wanted to try and cover a variety of genres because to be honest I read across most of them that’s great so what is the first book that you want to share okay well the first one is cool pages for you and it’s by Sylvia Browne Rick so I just got a little quote from one of the reviews which says that this book is basically a love letter written for a lost lover and I think it sums that up out it really well so basically it’s around a girl called Flannery Johnson and she’s 17 just arrived at University and she comes across this other woman and in like a local diner she basically falls completely dramatically and desperately in love with hers like a love at first sight and then really slowly their paths kind of starting to twine and and Flannery essentially becomes and she in life and love I suppose yes I I just I was so in love for this book when I read Zinn it is actually one of the first books I read that had a lesbian relationship in it and it because it was written in 2001 so I was alone at the time and it was kind of cool because Flannery was 17 I was 19 so I could see these comparisons between and what happens after a night she turns out to be her 28-year old teaching assistant so she’s much more experienced and worldly and they just had this crazy passionate love affair basically so I suppose you could say it’s a kind of student-teacher setup which we know is a bit of a trope but I think it’s like it’s so wonderfully written and it doesn’t have the kind of ending that you might expect or it doesn’t follow the same kind of arc that you might expect from that trope it’s all from Flannery’s point of view as well which I found quite interesting it’s all about just really how this that love affair affected her how she kind of grew creatively under it as well until I can influence how she dealt with herself first taste of love and heartbreak and it may see just spurred me to go and like seek out loads more stories like this like wow lesbians I have to go find more basically oh yeah okay so this one is much more love story than romance is that right yeah it’s a love story and it’s very intense very quickly and kind of passionate and they just kind of consume each other almost just how fast things move and how particularly flowery how dependent she becomes on this relationship but in a kind of innocent way in a in quite a beautiful way I think didn’t sell me Brownrigg recently like I want to say recently I mean within the last year or two release a sequel to this she did called pages for her so that was 2017 16 years after the original and she actually aged the characters in real time and they meet again and they’re both in very different situations circumstances you know marriage and divorce and children and things and because I was then also my thirties the same as Flannery it was like really amazing to read it was like oh look what she’s doing now look what I’m doing now look I’m a lesbian now he’s finding jobs so I think of quite the same impact I think being older and having read a lot more since then but I still really enjoyed it I was so excited when I saw that it was coming out yeah I haven’t read those two I mean I haven’t read any of the books that you’re talking about today spoiler for everybody else but these are ones that no that’s okay never apologize for introducing new books as I’m probably gonna walk away cursing you for adding you know five to eight new books to my list well I feel like now this is like my mission for the podcast this size you sell these books to you mm-hmm it’s me but pure endless to be red mist it’s a little embarrassing for the like not for review that I have a separate list like for books I’m reviewing but yeah but that’s on there I have it I bought it and I think you have convinced me to move it up the list so Goods kids you’ll have to let me know what you think anyway I will what is the next book on your list okay so this one’s kind of controversial it’s like it’s called exquisite and it’s by Sarah Stovall and this book genuinely Halleck had me gripped from start to finish and it’s it’s one of the few books I’ve read that like I had to read it in once it’s only there’s like no other choice I just had to know what happened and and you know it’s not all guns blazing action kind of thriller it’s it’s really psychological and the kind of sinister in a way so it’s told from two points of view you have beau who kind of seemingly has it all you know she has a loving family and a daughter and a beautiful home and husband and kind of like a handful of bestselling novels to her name and she’s kind of living this lovely little writers life and then you have Alice who’s much younger and she’s a kind of aspiring writer she’s sort of drifting through life and you know a string of dead-end jobs behind her and a freeloading boyfriend and it’s all just terrible but all she knows that she wants to write and then they actually meet at this writers retreat and the chemistry is kind of instant and from that point then this kind of sinister relationship develops between them your fate I know and other people can’t see your face for your face that’s brilliant okay and for me it’s like a really perfect example of when to use a kind of unreliable narrator so it kind of basic it keeps you guessing all the way through as to who is telling the truth because you’re getting both side of the story about their relationship and your gang Alice’s side and you’re kind of like they’re both so untrustworthy you don’t know who is telling the truth it’s actually in the way I suppose it’s that is another sort of teacher-student book which until I was sort of thinking about the books I hadn’t really thought about it in that way and I think because Alice has maybe a little bit older than a typical student might be and again it’s just a lot more complexities than you might see with that kind of trope I think that author just constructed like such a clever story just so psychological and kind of chilling and it was just so many reactions from me so many reactions I mean from the sound of it you can clearly think that there’s probably not the happiest of endings but I would say don’t let that put you off definitely how creepy is this book I I am a big baby I really there’s no like blood and murder and that kind of thing it’s more just like I said this liked a lot of logical impact that they kind of have on each other and the others around them as well okay I just need to know what is there like is there any kind of like sexual assault or anything like that that happens in the book no okay that’s just one of my no ghosts so yeah no no no I can remember actually nine so if somebody is a big baby and doesn’t typically read thrillers would this still be an okay place to start with thrillers I think you know what it would be because it’s not like any of them are in kind of danger or like I said there’s any sort of murder or brutal kind of scenes or anything like that it’s move that you are just I just found myself reading it being like what you know like what did she do what did she say is that real like and the number of times I was just like oh my god you bitch yes for both characters oh okay I’m gonna I’m going to say that I might give I want to try you have me intrigued okay it gets kids but I might wait for like a particularly low anxiety day yeah I could say I can actually really see this one as a movie I think yeah I definitely could see is this kind of psychological movie okay you’re listening to the lesbian talk-show the lesbians all choke on your hub of podcast information so what is your next book okay so this one is a bit more suspenseful and thriller ish does maybe have a couple of brutal scenes in it so I’m not sure how you feel about it and it’s a bit called snare and it’s by and I may not pronounces correctly it’s lilia secret our daughter she’s an Icelandic or whether I’ll put the name in the with the link to Amazon in the show notes for people who want to go get it yes I’m pretty sure I just hashed that up but anyway I mean I absolutely love mystery suspense thrillers which is probably why my books always start as romances but inevitably murder ends up happening somewhere yeah my might I think my mind just goes there I can’t help it so this is is a really great example of Icelandic noir and it kind of gives you all this mystery suspense thriller elements and I got really excited actually when I’d finished it to find out that it was the third or at the first in a trilogy and but it’s just the first one that had been and translated and so with this book you meet Sonya who’s the main character and she’s kind of struggling to provide for herself keep custody of her son and she’s had this really messy divorce and everything’s just kind of falling apart around her so I mean obviously she ends up smuggling cocaine into Iceland because as you do I just know I’m more surprising she finds she’s actually really good at it because she’s just this anonymous woman and you know she sort of dresses to make herself just look like a kind of generic businesswoman who made all these short travel business travel trips to Europe and things so it’s meant for her to be a kind of short-term solution but because of her skills she kind of gets the attention of the bigger bosses and before long she is basically snared in this whole web of crime she ends up there’s a really interesting kind of side story where she’s so pitted against this really experienced customs officer he’s like coming up to retirement you know he’s seen it all and he just has this kind of sixth sense and he starts watching her kind of suspicious so she has to come up with like more and more daring strategies to kind of get the drugs into the country and that just like really keeps you gripped this sort of cat-and-mouse game and then if that’s not enough because you know things are more complicated because of her relationship with a banker and named Aguila and so that’s where the kind of lesbian relationship comes into it well suppose they’re both bisexual actually I think white like about it is not there’s no big deal made about the fact that she has been married to a man has a child and then is in a relationship with a woman it’s just the sexuality none of that it’s just not a thing and I quite appreciated that but Akula is actually currently being prosecuted for her part in the Icelandic financial crash so you get kind of her perspective from laughs and with the different connections to that these finance people to the drug dealers it just takes a loads of really surprising twists and turns and all their lives kind of across and unexpected ways and one of the twists towards the end actually genuinely I didn’t see coming and that’s quite rare for me so yeah really compelling book and really interesting because of the setting and stuff as well I thought yeah so you should read that one okay do you know if the other two are likely to be translated and yeah the second one is cool trap and I’ve actually read that as well so it’s been translated already also just as good I really enjoyed both of them I’m not sure about this oh that one might not be ready yet no you have something to look forward to yeah exactly it’s um I like to watch lists so I just look it up every now and again and looking forward to that one definitely nice so what is your next book and so my next one is actually kinda well young adult you a dolt book I think this is just like some really wonderful writing I think in that genre and I actually there was three or four on my list of twelve that would come into that category and so it’s really torn like this classic like the gravity between us and just you yeah a line in the dark by Melinda low which I think I’ve mentioned to you before about that one has I I don’t think so I know Melinda low often comes up Ann McMahon when she was on the podcast a couple years ago talked about ash by Melinda low which I think was kind of the one where she like like that was what broke her out on the scene I think yeah that was almost a kind of retelling of Cinderella I think yeah I think so yeah and she she did another one that was that kind of Macbeth retelling as well which was I quite enjoyed I think that was her sorry-sorry Melinda if it wasn’t you but a line in the dark I liked it was again it was another kind of thriller but I decided to go for an Emily Oh burn book I just think she’s one of the best kind of young I don’t you I don’t read it right since I’ve read but I have read all of her books enjoyed all of them so I’ve actually just gone for her first one which is called a story of now and it kind of focuses on Claire who’s 19 she’s had a bit of a confidence shattering year bad breakups friends who’ve kind of drifted away in and she has this constant feelings of failure like living up to her parents expectations and stuff so she’s just kind of decided she wants makes you new friends she wants to essentially get a life she just feels that she doesn’t have a life but she’s kind of quite sassy and a bit prickly and her own good sometimes I think so struggles to make new friends and then the other characters you get then is Robbie and Mia who can come into our life unexpectedly and she she feels like they’re not really her kind of people but eventually they don’t give up and they become friends and then her Mia then form this kind of quite unexpected very lovely friendship that then develops and some more and but I just think oh how many events characters they’re always just really well drawn and you feel like you know them like you’re almost part of this little friendship group and they’re all very individual and with their characteristics and stuff and I quite enjoy that most of them tend to be more and they’re like late teens as opposed to younger teens so they are adults you know just starting out just discovering themselves first relationships and things and yeah just I just really appreciate that they’re not always coming out stories and they’re just generally young people living their lives and and figuring things out yeah so you have you read any of her books I haven’t I’m embarrassed to say but I’m pretty sure this one is in that to be read list and it sounds like I need to move it up as well well I mean I knew that that kind of Jean was not really everyone’s thing I think I just like quite like them because I saw pine after well I kind of potentially missed during those years myself by you know not coming out and things and yeah so I just get really kind of nostalgic almost for that time in my life and so I love seeing all these these stories and yeah just imagining that what I could have had back then as well I’m sure there’s a lot of people out here there who do you feel like that too that way definitely when I read the space between because that’s the I hope she’s gonna forgive me I’m probably gonna pronounce her last name wrong but that’s Michelle type man’s first book yeah and what she writes about with that like in Ontario Canada daughter I think it’s she’s like the hero she’s the daughter a pastor yeah she’s sad for my yeah a Christian family but very yeah and it’s like there there was a lot of stuff that definitely resonated for me because I grew up in small town Ontario and my dad was a deacon and the same kind of like the exact same kind of a church it was almost eerie but I I didn’t know what was up with myself either like I’ve talked about this in other podcasts about how like luckily I was attracted to like enough boys where I was like totally straight my parents are not gonna put me in conversion therapy this is wonderful there now I gotta send me to a camp yeah you know so so when I read that book it was uncomfortable it was very good but it was really uncomfortable because it felt like another way that my life could have unfolded yeah definitely and I’ve read that one as well I’m friends with Michelle and I remember when it first came out and just how proud of it she was too and so yeah I definitely enjoyed that one and I think there’s a lot of face off young adult new I don’t where the author is of the aiming at a certain age group you know so young people can kind of find solace in these stories and find some courage and just as other people to identify with you know characters to identify with but I think they do really speak to adults I think if you find really good was someone’s they do still speak to all the adults just for all those reasons you said I agree and I mean how amazing is it that teenagers are growing up with a rate like it’s not just one or two books that if you’re lucky you find them but there’s like so many queer stories available for them and in mainstream bookstores you don’t have to go find the the LGBT shelf well that’s it I mean I just reeled off there like five or six I could have chosen for this list so that was my sneaky way of getting extra books I see it and I appreciate it as someone who also tax extras on to this but I would say as well with Emily and she has this real knack of describing the kind of intimate moments just like really kind of tender and perfectly you know because obviously they thought she was intense not to be sexually graphic and so really just appreciate her way of writing it so subtly the the feelings and those special moments still come across really well I think that’s that’s carefully why I chose chose one of her sort of above some of the others as well just for that I could enact she has mm-hmm so what is your last book well I’d say I saved the best to last this yeah this would be my one of my all-time favorites and I actually only discovered it this past year or so it’s called tell it to the bees by Fiona Shaw it’s set in the 50s in a small kind of Yorkshire town and in the description it says it’s a story set in the 50s of a secret love that gets a whole town talking and has a small boy very worried that’s kind of how the blurb starts off they’re basically a centers on Lydia and her son Charlie I think Charlie’s nine and they’re trying to basically deal with the breakup of Lydia’s marriage and the kind of consequences of that her husband cheating on her and kind of leaving them with no money and things and Charlie befriends the local doctor gene and gene has all these kind of beehives in her garden she lives in the kind of big manor house in the village and they essentially bond over the beehives and she starts to teach him you know harvesting the honey and things like that because he’s kind of a lonely little boy he doesn’t really have any other friends the zone age and then Lydia finds herself homersim without a job and so jean offers them a room and offers her job as like a housekeeper and basically their relationship grows from there but honestly I was just like I had all the fields with this book it just I was so emotional and people that know me now I’m not an emotion that way I just loved it and I got so involved within it and I was just I was kind of genuinely worried for the characters all the time that I think they’re the build-up of the race relationships like really tender and kind of slow and I love a slow burn romance or love story as well and but also Fiona sure she offers this kind of point of view from Charlie the young boy and and I actually think that was genius and it’s one of my favorite parts of the book it’s his point of view it’s just like really lovely scenes between all three of them and that kind of family dynamic and stuff I think that are quite understated you know and alo is all secretive and you it still kind of portrays them as this family quite positively and we don’t see very much of that I don’t think no especially not for that time period exactly yeah and so the angst inevitably comes in the form of everyone in this small little Yorkshire town discovering the relationship and the ex-husband then becoming kind of hell-bent on making Lydia’s life miserable and he and he and you know he uses Charlie as a weapon that if you continue this relationship I will take Charlie away and so I think it was a real contrast kind of showing Charlie’s innocence against the kind of prejudice of the small town and of his dad because although he’s kind of shocked he’s more just shot seeing his mum with someone as opposed to actually seen his mum with Jean and so this I felt that was just another way his point of view can added to the story sounds lovely it is like I’m not someone who always needs a happy ending or even a happy for now but I was so delighted that we got one oh good okay yeah I like I can let you talk about this book for hours ICG Benson myself and her both loved it and we have talked about it for hours we’re very excited that there’s a film just being made of it that’s good news so who in particular would you recommend this one to everybody genuine okay I think it’s obviously gonna appeal to the romance readers it is a romance but it does have that kind of element of not thriller but that element of suspense in terms of how the town will react and who will be on their side who won’t be on their side and what that might look like they’re kind of like the danger from the ex-husband and things like that as well so it has that but inevitably it’s just a very beautiful love story I think that’s wonderful okay I’m gonna go look for that one because I actually haven’t heard of it before so pretty excited so Wendy where can people find you online if they want to connect with you I’m kind of everywhere I’m on Facebook and you can give me a Wendy Hudson author I’m on Instagram again it’s Wendy Hudson author and Twitter is that’s W Hudson author sounds good that is all for this episode thank you so much for joining me I am Tara and you’ve been listening to Les Deux books 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