In this episode of Les Do Books Tara chats to Jeannie Levig about 6 Cheating Books to Get You Thinking
For many readers, cheating in romance isn’t just a hot button subject but a full-stop, do-not-pass-go deal-breaker. Today, Tara and Jeannie dive into the deep end with their recommendations and their thoughts on this difficult subject.
Listen to this podcast here
Check out Jeannie’s Recommendations
When you use the links in this podcast and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra
Check out Tara’s Recommendations
When you use the links in this podcast and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra
Check out the Honourable Mentions
When you use the links in this podcast and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra
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 or come join the Facebook group the lesbian review book club I am so excited today because Jeannie Levig joins me she is the author of five lesbian books the latest of which is a wish upon a star which is out everywhere from fold source books welcome Jeannie hey Tara thank you for having me again I go ahead the last one went well enough that you invited me because okay well we’re friends now so you’re always welcome yes no good because I had some other ideas too alright but we are here today to talk about a pretty controversial topic and let’s fix did you want to share what it is and why we’re even talking about it yes I’d be happy to the topic is infidelity or in a another word cheating and the way it came up was in the last podcast that pot that I did with Tara we spoke about general fiction books which are books that don’t fall into any particular category and one of the books I chose was life and death by M Ulrich which has an infidelity piece in it that I just it’s one of the reasons I love the book and I will talk more about that in this podcast as well but the way it’s handled was just very well done and so after we were finished recording Tara and I got to talking about that and we got to talking about how controversial the topic infidelity is or it seems to be in lesbian fiction and some of the reasons why that might be and some of the ways it might manifest in different people’s books and stories in the reviews of the books that do tackle the topic and so it just evolved into another podcast where we will be talking about that the controversial element and we will also be talking about and recommending some books that we each feel handle the topic either in a unique way or handle it well because you know there’s there’s a way to handle it well and then there’s a way to handle it in a more destructive way and so that’s how this podcast came up so why do you think the infidelity is hated so much in less because I’ve never quite seen like the vitriol for it in any other reading group or for any other genre as I have here you know if I if I have to just I have a background in counseling and so I have I’ve done counseling with a lot of different people and then I have my own relationship background which is quite varied and so drawing from that to answer this question I actually think some of it is the fact that you know obviously in lesbian culture and therefore and lesbian fiction or dealing price almost exclusively with women not not entirely there are male readers of less fiction lesbian fiction but the the predominant readership of lesbian fiction I would guess is women and I think because of the emotional makeup of women generally speaking I’m not I’m not you know I am making a generalization I understand that but generally speaking the emotional makeup of women is different than the emotional makeup of men and therefore within female female relationships I think there’s a higher expectation in the area of things that trigger emotions then there might be in straight relationships or even bisexual relationships between men and women and so and like I said I’ve done no research on this I don’t there’s I don’t I’ve never read a study on it this is just from couples counseling I have done with people or even counseling of women in particular that have come through an experience with infidelity and who have been cheated on in their relationships that’s what I’m drawing this from and so you know take it with a grain of salt certainly don’t think I’m trying to pass this answer off as anything scientific or you know sentence it’s it’s simply an observation I’ve made and so you know within lesbian fiction there is a very strong reaction from a lot of readers to books that deal with infidelity and particularly if they’re if infidelity is dealt with in such a way that the cheater isn’t severely punished for it and even one of the books I wrote that dealt with infidelity one of the reviews and it will always stay with me but one of the reviewers said in the review of it that you know if there is a cheater in the book we we want the cheater we being the readers we want the cheater to to lose the relationship to never find love again and to end up alone and destitute and ruin and it’s like if that happens to the cheater then the infidelity is more ok than than if it doesn’t and the other thing I’ve noticed in some of the reactions to infidelity and Liz Vick is that if the cheating takes place say to the character who is the cheater is with a man and they cheat on the man with the woman that seems to be more acceptable than if they cheat on the woman with a woman and certainly than if they cheat on a man cheat on a woman with a man and so I think there’s a there’s a lot of layers to this topic and I think there’s a lot of triggers for readers that come up you know certainly somebody who has been cheated on is gonna you know if if they’re still feeling the hurt and the betrayal of that they’re gonna be triggered by that in a story especially if they’ve picked up the story for an escape and you know a fun read if there’s no warning that that’s what they’re gonna find in the book and also if they’re there are a lot of people even if it hasn’t happened to them there are a lot of people who are very frightened that it will happen to them and so to read a story with infidelity in it if that’s something that they’re very afraid of or afraid happen then they’re gonna have a reaction to it as well and again particularly if the cheater isn’t adequately punished for the behavior mm-hmm so with that because I I I mean I I agree with you and I don’t really have any other speculation of my own I haven’t especially because I haven’t as far as I know I haven’t had anyone cheat on me I have it and I haven’t cheated on anyone I I can take that part that’s my side of things so I don’t have any real personal experience with it I know people that have experienced it or whatever but because I haven’t experienced it I don’t really have an opinion around it but I do find that there are some really excellent books in less fake that have cheating as a central theme and that might not even get picked up as a result so with that we each have three boats that prominently feature it that we want to share today do you want to share the title of your first book I believe my first one is what is my first one I gave you the list okay I’m gonna enjoy today I’m gonna enjoy yours for you take it so your first book is olive oil and white bread by Georgia beers and I’m just going to read the blurb for it which i think is the blurb on Amazon right yes it’s the official book off Amazon and Goodreads and other than the very very last the very end of it I tweaked them but anyway go ahead what happens to lovers after the happily ever after moment what goes on behind the closed doors of a relationship once the commitment is made what does romance turn into when the hands of time keep turning olive oil and white bread is a novel that dares to answer those questions Angie Righetti as the daughter was sprawling but close-knit italian-american family she’s out and they’re proud Gillian Clark’s family is the white bread to Angie’s Olive Oyl stoic and emotionally buttoned up they don’t want to think about Gillian sexuality it’s 1988 when they move in together on the brink of starting their careers like every couple at the start of their life together they expect to live ever after and for 23 years life happens they change jobs buy a house get a dog and deal with money issues in the death of a parent they fight love cry play make mistakes have regrets and try to be good to each other into everybody else like most of us they tumble into a routine that turns into a rut that leads to danger and distraction this is a romance that begins where most romances end so why did you choose this one I chose this one you know clearly because it fits the theme we’re talking about today there is there is a moment in their 23 years together together where one of the characters slips and has a cheating incident before I get to that though I want to talk about how amazing I think this book is generally because of what Georgia bears does with the romance genre itself with it like the blurb says most of the you know the romance genre in general tends to start where the books the story starts where the characters meet and it goes through whatever conflicts they have getting together and falling in love and blah blah blah and then they the the book ends with the happily ever after and this book spans this couple as it says 23 years it spans everything you you are there when they meet and then it goes for 23 years and it is such an accurate and such an exquisite representation of a long-term relationship which we don’t get to see in certainly in lesbian romance very often and and even in lesbian fiction you know it books the lesbian fiction books that I’ve read they you know they tend to span a shorter period of time and so to find a book that spans very accurately a 23 year relationship all and and they’re all the ups and downs and there are high points you know you get to see it all it’s not just you don’t get to just experience everything that goes wrong in the relationship and so by the time you reach by the time you reach that moment of infidelity if you pay attention like for me I mean I I understood it I understood completely what happened and it wasn’t just the one person’s responsibility and I and I I shy away from the word fault because generally speaking I don’t believe in fault so it but it’s not the one person’s responsibility as you’re following this story by the time it happens uh you know like I said I could really I understood it I understood what both characters were feeling and Bierce does a beautiful job with that in my opinion this book it doesn’t represent one side or the other and it doesn’t paint the picture that the only one in pain is the one who was cheated on and that’s something in infidelity if if it’s written deeply enough the reader is going to understand if they choose to the reader is going to understand that there’s a lot of pain involved in the cheating character for the cheating character as well I mean yes there are habitual cheaters that you know they just they cheat for different reasons but in a story like this one where it was really a one-time thing and it’s borne out of the overall dynamic in the couple’s relationship and so it’s it’s not like the character who cheats just doesn’t and is all happy-go-lucky about it and you know cope and she gets away from it she said she’s in a lot of pain as well both before and after which is a lot of times that’s the case with infidelity you know when you’re in a long-term loving relationship even if you’re the one who messes up you don’t feel good about it and you don’t feel good even before it happens it’s usually the result of and I’m not saying it’s the other partner’s fault I’m saying it’s it’s part of the dynamic of the relationship if you’re heading in that direction which I probably in this podcast is not gonna be a very popular statement and so well it makes me think of there’s a book called fierce conversations and it talks about how the breakdown in relationships is one of those things that a lot of people think happens suddenly but it’s actually gradually and then suddenly exactly and you don’t always see it coming you know everybody and that that’s the other thing that bears does so beautifully in this book you know these are two people they both have jobs they both have families they both have there’s so much going on that you know and and one of the partners focus is Sir job which that isn’t unusual so it just there’s does such a beautiful job with showing all facets of first of all a long term relationship and secondly what happens when a relationship breaks down to this point and then and and I don’t want to give away the ending but trying to think if it does in the blurb anyway then it you know she she pulls off the ending I’ll just say that you’re not going to be disappointed with the ending that the ending fits so beautifully with what beers has built Angie and Jillian’s relationship to be from the very start it’s there’s given that given that she wrote the characters the way she did and she wrote the relationship the way she it she did it’s it’s a very satisfying and it’s a very realistic ending for this couple the ending of the book not the ending of the relationship but she just it’s really I can’t say enough about this book and I read it quite a while ago it’s one of the early Liz Vick books I read it’s been out for quite a while and I hadn’t read it since and so I really when I reread it for this podcast I was even more floored by it than I was initially I saw a lot more of the depth to it because when I first read it like I said it was on the first ones and I was just so excited about finding lesbian fiction it’s like I loved everything yeah you know now I really see just how how wonderful and how beautifully crafted this book is so I recommend it very very highly and especially especially for people who have been in long-term relationships you know there’s there’s a lot you can glean from the way it’s written and there’s a lot like there I was in two long-term relationships one was 15 years and one was 10 years and in both of those cases you know I could see a lot of what I went through in some of the things that Jillian and Angie went through and so you know it’s it can be educational as well mm-hmm so my first book is flinging it by G Benson so the blurb for that is Frazer head midwife at a hospital in Perth Australia is trying to make her corner of the world a little better by starting up a program for at-risk parents not everyone is excited about her ideas surrounded by red tape she finally has to team up with Cora a social worker who is married to Fraser’s boss Cora’s started to think her marriage is beyond saving even if she wants to feeling smothered by a domineering spouse she grabs hold of the program and the distraction Fraser offers with both hands soon the two women get a little too close and find themselves in a situation they never dream themselves capable of an affair as the two fall deeper both are torn between their Tabak romance and their morals but walking away from each other may not be as simple as they thought I really enjoyed this one I’m a fan of G Benson anyway so I picked it up right away despite being a little like I’m not super sure about this scenario but I think it works really well because it’s a book that talks about cheating without any judgment either way it’s not condemning it it’s not praising it I think it just really shows that you know there are nuances to these things sometimes that you know they’re there aren’t necessarily heroes or villains although actually Cora’s husband is kind of a villain because he likely has some kind of a narcissistic personality disorder or something like that the way he controls Cora the way he gaslights her and so I think it also makes it quite easy for less Vic readers to get behind because you know there is this asshole husband who is there and is emotionally abusive but at the same time even though he is like that he wasn’t one-dimensional either he wasn’t like a cardboard cutout villain there were nuances to him as well because you could occasionally see these glimmers of the person that Cora had fallen in love with in the first place and it was just really beautifully done and I found myself rooting for Fraser and Cora even though it was one of those like how are they going to get out of this they all work at the same place it was really complicated and you know they start off with what’s supposed to be a friends-with-benefits thing and then you know sometimes that doesn’t always work either because you know the feeling feelings can be real yeah it does but I also like this book because it wasn’t overwhelmingly angsty like there’s definitely with with a premise like this it could have gotten really quite dark but it’s actually really funny at times because Gaby is a very relations very funny person and she’s very funny writer so I think you know if you want to kind of dip your toe in this might be a good place to start you know you brought up a good point in talking about flinging it that a lot of times it’s easier for readers to digest an infidelity piece when the person being cheated on is an unlikable character in a lot of ways and and I’ve seen that in other books that deal with infidelity whether the person being cheated on is male or female there’s one book that comes to mind where the girlfriend was it was really you know not particularly likeable and that made it a little bit more digestible I think for some readers too you know for the cheating to take place you know it kind of it is a kind of juicy rationalization in my opinion but it works you know if you don’t like the person being cheated on it’s you’re less likely to feel too bad when it happens that’s true and in a case of this one actually I don’t want to say that there was no angst because there definitely was like I actually wondered if they would even be able to remain friends because of how messy and complicated things got but I mean it is a romance so there is a happy ending one other thing that I want to mention that I think is noteworthy is that this book handled by sexual awakening really well okay and I I mean you don’t as a bisexual person I appreciated that but it wasn’t Korra cheating because you know by people are fickle and evil and cheated all the time like some stereotypes that we’ve seen she also doesn’t leave her husband because she thinks all men are evil and there isn’t this whole like oh I’ve unknowingly being a lesbian the whole time and then just like pave over her whole history of romantic attraction romantic and sexual attraction to men she really slowly figures it out and there’s this beautiful moment when she really gets it that like oh yeah she is bi and it’s so it’s so good and it’s so important and even that it’s worth picking up a book just again it’s great that’s great I have to get that one I’ve been wanting to read some more of Benson and so that’ll be a good one oh yeah yeah I totally recommend that one so you’re you memories and scars are the signs of a life well-lived and more often than not our milestones are similar love a first home marriage and a child the same goes for Marty and Suzanne Dempsey but happy memories and years of a life built together weren’t enough to help their relationship survive the terminal diagnosis of their only child Abigail coping in their own ways Marty and Suzanne drift apart and eventually divorce after one finds comfort in the arms of a stranger the expected and devastating death of their daughter has seemingly severed any ties that remain between them but an insightful letter from Abigail gives Marty the one thing that seems so elusive before hope okay as I said anybody that heard our previous podcast knows how I feel about this book and so I’m only gonna speak to the infidelity piece in this podcast since I fangirl the heck out of it in the last one that the infidelity piece in this book is again it’s handled so well and again by that by the time I got to that piece first of all it’s I think it’s important to mention that it’s really a good idea in my opinion to always make sure if there’s infidelity in a lesbian fiction book that it’s put right out there in the blurb like M Ulrich did and it doesn’t always work the book I wrote that has it it was right in the blurb and people still got mad but but it does you know but it does you know it does help and at least alerts the readers and so even though I knew it was coming by the time you reach that point in the plot that the infidelity takes place again it’s completely understandable and it this book also speaks to what I spoke about in Georgia bears this book the person who is cheating is in just an enormous amount of pain herself and so there’s there’s some compassion that’s possible for the character and clearly in a book like this the way Alric develops the events that take place and you know as it says in the blurb that they have they’re going through a terminal illness with their child and and their child does die and it’s beautifully done because Elric makes it clear that these two women they don’t know how to take care of each other during this time period they’re both floundering they’re both in pain they’re both losing their daughter and they couldn’t help each other in any circumstance you know they just don’t have it and so they they do each turn in different ways to outside sources and so by the time it happens you get it and then the thing that I really like about this book is they both get it eventually you know yes it’s the infidelity that you know causes the divorce on the surface level but when it when they when it all comes around the one who is cheated on in the book she even gets it she doesn’t make a big deal about it she you know she realizes that you know she she wants her partner back and she doesn’t make a big deal about the about the cheating because on a deeper level she understands she gets that it really didn’t have anything to do with whether or not her partner loves her and so I and that’s a unique realization to find in a book that deals with cheating you know especially it’s very non-traditional even in life it’s very non-traditional there aren’t a lot of people who would who would grasp that and so that that’s one of the main things I love about the way all that handled the infidelity piece in life and death and it’s just again the whole book is just beautifully written and and well crafted and so again I will always highly recommend this book it is the best book that I wasn’t able to finish and I’ve never admitted that on the podcast before because I don’t want people I did I was afraid that people would think I was slamming the book by saying I couldn’t finish it and I actually told making this myself but I think I actually know how I want to say it now it’s a beautifully written book and it actually wasn’t the infidelity for me that I couldn’t take it was the daughter dying because I have to venture on yeah and so I regret that I wasn’t able to finish it it also doesn’t help that I was reading it at the same time as possibly one of the angsty as to other books I’ve ever read it is really beautifully written and so even though I couldn’t finish it I do think that people should consider it I really admire Megas writing because all of her books are so different and she is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter head-on like she dealt with the death of a child and cheating in the same exactly like I that’s what the less effect bravery Olympic gold medals right exactly so yes I I would echo that people should definitely check this one out I just think it’s super it’s incredibly well done I did skip to the end because I also want to skip to the end reader don’t send me hate mail about that it’s part of my anxiety right which is which is a good thing and it is it’s a very heavy book it’s a heavy it’s a heavy read because of those two pieces because they’re triggers for people and and to be honest because they’re written so well you know if you just took those same two topics put them in the same book and glossed over them it wouldn’t be a big deal but no Elric writes them so well and so so deeply without getting into wallowing in it you know she finds that that perfect balance in writing them that you know make you definitely feel them both but you don’t get so bogged down in them and pulled down in them that you know you can’t find your way out and you know I’d recommend for you tear that you you know try again at some point as you as your girls are get lectured because I read it to be honest I read it my kids were completely grown and I didn’t have grandkids him because it that makes a big difference you know if I had tried to read it when my daughter was young or when like now if now was my first experience with it I would have a very difficult time because I have children in my life at that age and so yeah I’m planning on coming back to it you’re listening to the lesbian talk show the lesbians auction you have of podcast information so my next book is behind the green curtain by Riley Lachey and the blurb is when Kate and sleazy boss offers her position as his wife’s personal assistant she accepts the job with reservations certain Jack Houston has ulterior motives after meeting Jack’s wife Amelia though it’s Caitlin’s motivations that begin to unravel as vicious as she is beautiful amelia threatened Keaton’s position and her sense of decorum as the attraction between the two women spirals into a torrid affair Katyn is run deeper into Jack and Amelia’s world of privilege and prestige where everything is at stake and nothing is what it seems first of all I’m going to say I don’t know if I’m pronouncing Kaitlyn’s name correctly or not but that’s the pronunciation that I’m going to go with this is actually an erotic novel and it’s one of my favorite erotic romances ever I I was like speed reading my way through most of it to get ready for this podcast and it’s really interestingly done it’s really dark and even though it’s erotic and like the sex is definitely happening on the page the language is also gentler than most erotic romances most of it is told from Kate ins perspective and so a lot of the time there’s this like wondering like what is up with her mercurial boss like with Emilia and then every so often we get little scenes that are from Amelia’s perspective where we get to find out that she’s much more tender than she lets on that we get to see why she’s so guarded she’s in this terrible marriage and the thing that’s interesting that’s not clear from the blurb is actually not only is it Amelia cheating on Jack which is fine jack is a complete asshole possibly also a sociopath which makes it very easy to like you know like that guy no don’t or don’t that guy like he’s terrible like just his ending is a plus plus I’m very happy with what happens to him at the end but Kate has a girlfriend who is perfectly lovely hmm she’s like quite wonderful and Katyn and Laura have this what seems to be like a really actually quite like a really great relationship but Katyn also can’t stay away from Amelia there’s just something there this like magnetic attraction between them that is highly charged and highly sexual at first and it’s interesting rereading it also after the me2 movement hmm because jack is that total like the boss who sleeps with all the women that he can but there’s also like a power dynamic between Amelia and Caitlin because Caitlin is working for Amelia as her assistant and I would say the consent is fairly dubious at first Amelia doesn’t it it doesn’t feel like outright assault or anything like that but because of the power dynamic and because so much of it is unspoken it just adds this like extra layer of tension that maybe wasn’t there before and the other thing that I think it does beautifully that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere is that for the first third or more of the book a lot of their conversation almost happens with the sex like that’s how the relationship develops because they don’t talk to each other they just kind of go from encounter to encounter and so like they don’t even kiss until they’ve slept together several times and then when they do like the first time they kiss is this massive moment which I don’t know like it just I think I was kind of all over the place just like dropping elements that I loved about this story but it’s kind of one of those that I’ve read this probably this is probably my fourth time reading it since I first read it a few years ago and first of all I don’t read books that many times because I don’t have time for that I’m reading too many books for you but it’s still like I just feel myself being propelled through this book it’s so interesting and it’s so good and again Katyn knows the cheating isn’t okay and she feels bad about what she’s doing with Laura and also she can’t not do it at the same time and I just think that’s really especially the way those juxtaposed with like Amelia is just in a terrible marriage jack is a terrible man so it’s almost that like the understandable infidelity versus the what some would see is unforgivable infidelity and seeing those together in the same book I think works really well and I know that for people who are like a hundred percent against cheating books this probably isn’t gonna be the book for them but I would still challenge them to check it out anyway because it’s a beautiful book well I’m sold I’ll be I’ll be reading it I haven’t read it yet I’ve heard a lot about it I’ve heard I’ve heard you talk about it a lot and I’ve also heard other people bring it up and it’s one of those ones that it’s been on my to be read list for quite some time and I just haven’t done it yet but after what you just said I’m uncooked I’ll be getting it so all right well I want to know how you feel about it when it’s done be sure and tell you about it but one of the points that you brought up that I want to address in this podcast is when you said Caitlyn is the one that’s with Laura all right okay yeah Kate yeah when you said she just can’t not do it with Amelia she’s conflicted about it and she doesn’t feel good about it but she just can’t stay away and that’s that happens sometimes and that’s it’s it’s one of the things that a lot of the readers that are very very opposed to cheating in books and that have a very strong reaction to it it’s one of the things that that they don’t believe you know that they believe that you know in all situations you you can just turn around and say no one walk away and maybe later in your life as you’re more evolved maybe you could but you know in the moment sometimes you can’t and that not just with cheating I mean there there are we’ve all had things in our lives that we’ve done that we regret and that later on as we grow and of all there are things that I’ve done in my life that I wouldn’t do now and I know I know I wouldn’t do them now because I understand more about myself I understand more about life I’ve grown I’ve evolved I there are things I just wouldn’t do now but at the time I did them it really was the best I could do and so with that understanding around infidelity sometimes that’s the case and sometimes we have to do things in order to learn what we have what we need to learn in that moment and they’re not always good things they’re not always things that we’re going to be proud of in our lives but we learn down them if we’re paying attention if we’re not we’ll do them again but you know if if we are paying attention we will learn from them and we’ll learn what we needed to learn from them and we’ll move on and we won’t do them again but we have to have that experience and in infidelity I think that’s the case sometimes not always but you know in in the case of what you’re speaking about what your point that you made about getting in Laura you know it sounds like that’s the case because those are the moments that you you know even though you know given what you’ve promised somebody you shouldn’t be doing something you there are those moments sometimes the person just cannot walk away and in my opinion I’ve granted this is again all my opinion that’s what those moments are so yeah so your last book my last book is actually several books it’s I thought it was just french-kissing one but as I was preparing for this podcast I realized that there is infidelity that takes place in french-kissing one and then because Harper bliss deals with it so thoroughly it crosses over into french-kissing – and then there’s some additional infidelity that takes place in french-kissing – that crosses over into kissing great so generally speaking I’m going to be blurring those the whole french-kissing series you go ahead and read the blurb for french-kissing one and then I’ll speak to the rest of it yes I think I wrote you to her is that right you wrote it so this is the blurb from my review the first season or first book french kissing french kissing season one by harper bliss is a serial lesbian erotic story that is like a soap opera it takes place in paris with the PR agency barbie a and sarah at the center of all the action Juliet and Claire are former lovers turned best friends who’d built Barbie and Sarah together at a cost of a personal lives Juliet’s decade-long relationship with her partner Nadia is on the rocks Claire hasn’t had a long-term relationship three years even if she’s had great success with one-night stands their employees Stephanie continues to be the belle of the lesbian bar scene which is exactly the way she likes it when Nadia sets Claire up with Margot a trauma surgeon from the hospital where she works it looks like Claire may find may have finally found the one woman who can tie her down then Steph’s preference for the single life is tested when she’s assigned to work with the high-profile darling of conservative French politics Dominique letõs alright okay before we get to the cheating I’m just gonna declare it I adore Stefan Dominique they are probably my favorite of all of Harper Lissa’s couples and I’m just a massive fangirl for them so this is what do you like about them what specifically there’s a couple things I love age gap romances first of all and so that has that going on and I also kind of love the idea of the politician with a party girl it’s just really yeah they’re they’re a really fascinating couple and and you know talk about seemingly opposites attract they’re really young but I was just curious what specifically you liked about them and and I I do want to say before we get to the infidelity piece there is so much going on in these books in all the french-kissing books because they follow there’s three well in the first in the first three relationship stories going on all at the same time plus all of the intertwining friendships which or also can get very complex and then I believe in book for a new relationship couple is introduced that is a carryover from the pink bean series have you read for yes so by for Juliet Nadia’s story is pretty much tied up so they appear as side characters but they’re not mains in it anymore we do see there it’s the main it’s the romance couple yes for you yes because one of them is from France and the other one moves to France to be with her so they’re there but we also see a new relationship with someone on Dominic’s staff I think it’s like system basically hope yeah but yeah her right-hand person who falls for kind of almost like the equivalent of a lobbyist in the US who’s like a sex positive feminists whatever which is kind of the opposite of like what somebody involved in conservative politics wants to get involved in publicly okay like the the other cool thing about this is the first season in particular which I think deals with like the effects of infidelity the most strongly it was actually released serially so each chapter was titled as an episode so the idea of being a season like it was released episode by episode so I was reading it as it was coming out and I think it was coming out weekly or bi-weekly by which I mean every other week cuz it’s the same word to mean both things which is stupid actually but it’s a biweekly bi-weekly is twice about semi-weekly as every other week can be both okay anyway I’m sorry that’s one of my language pet peeves that someone from work has put on me but yes so it was released that way so it was a really interesting way to read it because it is just like a soap opera where you ending your life I’m glad I got it all together that would have driven me nuts so so do you want to talk about why I chose it I chose it because of what you said you you said that season one is the one that deals mostly with the effects but I just read I just reread one two and three and found season two is also still dealing a lot with the effects it’s just the effects of a different couple season one deals with the effects of following one couples experience with it and then season two deals with it from the perspective of another couple and that’s one of the things that’s the main reason I chose this book because Harper bliss does such a thorough job of exploring those effects very deeply and and even to the degree that with one of the couples and I don’t know if I should mention the names because that gives away too much right yeah so with one of the couples the infidelity takes place and they they have their upheaval over it and then the the partner that is cheated on appears to come to terms with it you know she she she consciously does some work around it and she decides she wants the relationship she’s and she still loves her partner and all that and so at the end of season one the end of the first book you think it’s all tied up and then you start book two and it’s a couple months after the end of season one and all this stuff has resurfaced for her all the stuff I mean she thought she’d forgiven at all she thought she’d set it aside she you know she thought she’d chosen her love and she’s still very much loves her partner which is what makes her conflict so palpable because she does still love her partner deeply and she’s trying so hard to make it work and she just at that time she just can’t do it she tries and tries and tries and she you know there are parts of the relationship that still work for her but the sexual part of the relationship she can’t get past the infidelity and Harper bliss was so deeply into that you know so much so that they break up again and then she herself has to go out and have sex with somebody just to prove a point and you know they’re there that does sometimes happen you know that whole revenge sex thing that you know is is so destructive and so hurtful and yet at the same time if that’s what you just really have to do then that’s what you really have to do and the other thing that I find a unique about the way the infidelity is handled in this book is Harper bliss explores the effects that the infidelity in a friendship group like that can have on the friend relationships you know where you know because everybody would expect it to have an effect on the partnership between the person who cheats and the person who’s cheated on but we don’t think sometimes about the peripheral people in our lives and how they’re impacted by it and there’s one situation in particular that situation where the long-term friendship is really jeopardized and put to the test by the choices that are made around the infidelity issue and so that’s another thing that I thought was you know it’s like I said Harper bliss handles it so thoroughly in an advantage she has three books to do it which is good but you know that doesn’t happen very often usually infidelity is only viewed in terms of what effect it has on the romantic relationship that’s at the center of it and so I thought that was impressive too and just the writing of the books that you know like I said they’re all very quality books and there’s so much more going on in the books as well you know you have each each thing I mean Stephanie and Dominique they they have their own stuff going on that really has absolutely nothing to do with infidelity you know so the infidelity piece in this conversation and in this podcast it sounds like it’s the whole book where it really isn’t you know it’s just it’s just a part of everything that happens and so you know I I just I’m so glad I chose french-kissing that the books and the book one and a series for this podcast because it’s given me the opportunity to real issen to the audiobooks which are just phenomenally done they’re narrated by Abby Creighton and they are so good and so that’s that you know this whole last week I’ve been in addition to as I’m doing other stuff I’m listening to these books and I just I’d forgotten just how much I loved them and so I recommend them very highly the character work in it is just in all of them are just exquisite the relationship dynamics are so well done you know you get to be in Paris they’re set in Paris which is you know a beautiful setting and so I don’t know I just I love these books and I love the way the infidelity is handled because it’s handled in my opinion so honestly it’s just so raw at some points and I just I love that kind of writing so that’s my third one how might you my third one is planning for love by Erin Dutton and the blurb for that is faith McKenna is a wedding planner and she’s damn good at her job helping Brides achieve the weddings and hit their dreams she doesn’t believe in marriage our happily ever after though so she’s more than happy to oblige if a bride’s dreams include one last fling with a woman before settling down for the rest of her life Rachel Union is shocked and horrified when she walks in on her very straight pressed friend violet getting down with her wedding planner against her better judgment rachel agrees not to tell violets fiance under the condition that faith makes sure violet walks down the aisle Rachel doesn’t trust faith and doesn’t know what to think about violet so she watches them with an eagle eye to ensure their botched tumble doesn’t second chance despite their first meeting Rachel finds that the more time she spends with faith the more she sees that faith is funny lovely and someone Rachel can’t seem to get out of her mind so the reason I chose this one is that I thought it was really interesting to see how a relationship can develop with Rachel knowing that faith helped violet I’m trying to figure out the right way to say it like she knows that faith helps Brides cheat on their partners she like she’s a she’s a part of that she’s enabling it empowering it or whatever and Rachel is totally horrified by it she hates it she doesn’t trust her she doesn’t think she’s trustworthy it’s that like fairly typical response to cheating that we see but at the same time seeing that from there someone can come to understand oh you are more than that one particular action that you’ve taken many times that she is still a whole person and to see how a romance can grow out of that like I thought that was quite a challenge that is the challenge for erin dutton to take on yeah like it was really interesting to see them both change and grow because her faith her growth was about realizing that you know what maybe happily ever afters aren’t all like maybe it is something that she could have as well and for Rachel she had to grow so that she could first of all stop being so rude to faith – she was a total jerk to her for quite a long time but she had to have a pretty big change of heart so that she could learn to like respect her and care about her and eventually love her and you know it’s it’s not an enemies to love her story but there’s definitely like a really big hate to love thing going on and it just works so well and I had a really hard time putting that one down because of it because I didn’t liked it so much you know that what you said about the challenge that that is for an author that’s that’s true because it’s sound like what she did was she started out with a very unlikable potentially unlikable character and then you know gave herself the challenge of turning that unlikable character into somebody that not only her other main character has to fall in love with but the reader has to fall in love it as well and so to be able to write that effectively you really have to be able to write a fully blown fully developed person you can’t skimp if if you’ve given yourself that challenge as a writer you’ve got you’ve got to show that that character has to step off the page and move in with the reader in order for that to happen and and that’s that’s not always easy to do and especially if you in the beginning the first thing you present is the very part of that character that many readers are going to dislike you know it’s one thing to to dangle out the pieces that make the character loveable in the end initially and then show some darker sides of them but to put that side out right up front that that’s brave that takes some courage on an author’s part oh but you know Erin Dutton Erin Dutton’s a strong writer I like quite a few of her books I haven’t read this one yet but I even reviewed a couple of her books and you know they she’s a strong writer I like her she does really good character work so before we wrap this up I want to give an honorable mention to a few books that didn’t make it to the podcast in case people are still with us and they think you know what I want to try those and I want a few more books you never know right we might but we might have hundreds too we might have you know made our point effectively I think so I am drawing this out because I just want to confirm put this one book but I think is a cheating buck was actually cheating yep okay so yeah so I want to give just an hour we’ll mention two so there’s the fling by Rebecca watch just read that which can I say something about that you think I don’t think you know yes put it on this list and yes you know maybe we’ll take a poll of all the people who read it after this podcast but I don’t think that’s a cheating book because they had an agreement and you know that that’s another thing about cheating you know it’s like I don’t know I I know people have called that a cheating book but they had an agreement the couple did see the thing I think interesting there is that she thought they had an agreement he didn’t think it was real I think he just denied it because he got mad at the end but anyway yeah it’s a very good it’s a very good very good book though I did enjoy the book mm-hmm also this one is definitely a cheating book and it’s does she love you bye Rachel Spangler I have heard about that one yeah and read that one that is a really interesting one because we get the perspective so it’s a couple that’s married and one of them is in sales and travels a lot and she started a long-term relationship with someone else in another city and it blows up in all their faces and we get the perspective of all three of them and that’s a very very good book that I highly recommend and one of the ones that I haven’t read but I know other people really enjoyed was miles apart by Al Brooks okay to look at that when I like L Brooks I like her books very good so Jeannie where can people find you online if they want to connect with you they can connect with me through my website which is simply wwg levitt.com and from there you can read about all my books you can as soon as I get it updated you can find out what’s going on in my life and you can email me directly from there you can also find me on Facebook just under Jeannie Levig is my personal account which is perfectly fine to friend me through or if you want to connect with only my author persona you can like my Jeannie Levig books page on Facebook and you can also find me on twitter under just at Jeannie Levig very simple and I get I think that’s I think those are the those are the main places to find me and I love hearing from readers and I’d actually love to hear from people on this podcast if you have something to say so feel free mm-hmm so that’s all for this episode thank you so much anything for having me and thank you for tackling this topic I think it was you know it’s like we said in the beginning it’s so controversial but I think you know there there are good books out there that deal with the subject matter and I think there are getting to be more and more good books out there that deal with the subject matter and so you know I I thank you for being willing to do this podcast well I think it’s important to too because it does happen and like I said you know that sometimes we can learn so much from a well written account of of anything really you know so this is no exception so thank you hi I’m Tara and you’ve been listening to last two books remember to email me at Tara at the lesbian review.com with your questions or comments and if you’re an author who’s interested in joining me on the show to talk about the let’s pick you love or trends that have you interested please let me know if you’ve enjoyed this episode please check out the show notes where you’ll find a patreon link for the lesbian talk show or visit patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show our patrons get exclusive content links bonus podcast that no one else gets access to you can also join our Facebook group to lesbian review book club to talk all of these books and anything else you’re reading and loving and this and many other great shows all you need to do is search for the lesbian talk show on iTunes poppin stitcher or Spotify that’s it what do you think do we do all right there’s good