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Happy Halloween: The Secret of Sleepy Hollow

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow

 

The other week at a local CVS, I noticed racks of Christmas romance paperbacks. I’m not quite ready to turn over all my leaves to winter holiday tales, though. Where oh where can I trick or treat for romances between queer women on All Hallows Eve? When I’m stumped for stories or want recommendations I can count on, I ask the readers at The Lesbian Book Review Book Club, a Facebook group associated with The Lesbian Review review site. I received several great titles for my treat bag, but I knew right away which one I would start with…

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow is a perfect seasonal tale to cozy up with as the days grow shorter, wetter, and colder. You know the feeling that time stops, characters frozen in place until you re-open a book? How easy it feels to to pick up where you left off as though no time has passed at all? This is one of those worlds. Andi Marquette takes the well-known and oft repeated tale of Ichabod Crane and his ill-fate time in Sleepy Hollow, and gives it a modern, lesbian spin. Abby Crane spends Halloween weekend deep in the archives of the local history museum in Sleepy Hollow, investigating her famous ancestor. As she works on her doctoral thesis, she meets Katie, a descendant of Katrina van Tassel, home on holiday from her own studies. Sparks fly immediately as the pair set out to learn what really happened to Ichabod on that fateful night 1799… I had fun reading it, enjoying the chemistry between the two women, the mysterious interplay of waking life and dreams, as well as the search itself 🙂 Maybe someday they’ll make a movie based on this version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow by Andi Marquette
Book Two in Twice Told Tales – Lesbian Retellings
Ylva Publishing, October 2015

You can purchase a copy through Ylva Publishing, Bella Books, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Join the conversation on Goodreads, too!

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Categories: contemporary, Holiday, lgbt, novella, paranormal, retellings, romance, seasonal, series | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Case of the Not-so-Nice Nurse – audiobook review

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Cherry Aimless and I have at least one thing in common: our admiration of teen super sleuth, Nancy Dre…er, Nancy Clue. Narrator Emily Beresford captures the playful spirit of Mabel Maney’s The Case of the Not-so-Nice Nurse. Originally published in 1991, this tongue-in-cheek combo parody (with a queer twist) of the Nancy Drew mystery series and the nurse-cum amateur-investigator series, Cherry Ames, is even more fun in audio form.

Cherry, a clueless nurse with a heart of gold, is about to take a well-deserved vacation from her job at a busy hospital in Seattle, when chaos erupts. Beresford deftly channels the young woman’s perky helpfulness and oblivious nature, treading a fine line between endearing and annoying. Along the way to California, Cherry picks up a few friends and meets her idol, Nancy Clue. All characters are given distinct vocal profiles. This enhances the humor and increases listener immersion. Together, the women pool their talents and resources to solve the mystery.  

***Book two in the series, The Case of the Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend, follows up on the traumatic backstory of Nancy Clue, her father, and much-beloved housekeeper.***

A Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless mystery, Book 1
Cleis Press
Length: 7 hours, 2 minutes
Audiobook production: 2012

Available from Amazon/Audible and iTunes.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: audiobooks, humorous, mystery, romance, series | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hallowed Murder – audiobook spotlight

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The Mystery Writers of America recently bestowed the title of Grand Master upon Ellen Hart, author of the Jane Lawless and the Sophie Greenway mystery series. Grand Master is bestowed upon writers who have made outstanding contributions to the genre. My first introduction to Hart was when I happened upon Hart’s long running mystery series, stars Minneapolis restaurateur, Jane Lawless, on the shelf at my local public library. The amateur sleuth has languished in my TBR pile ever since. When I read about Hart’s literary distinction on Women and Words, last week, I put most of my other in-progress books aside and bought an Audible copy of the series first installment, Hallowed Murder (1989).  

The series introduction finds Jane volunteering as an alumnae advisor at her old sorority house at the University of Minnesota. On a morning walk along the river, Jane and her longtime pal, Cordelia, stumble upon the drowned body of the sorority’s social chair, Allison Lord. The police readily dismiss the young woman’s death as a suicide, because in their dim view lesbians are all suicidal and otherwise loathsome creatures. Jane, however, believes that something foul is afoot and pursues a twisting road of secrets, prejudice, homophobia, loaded motives, and more, in order to learn the truth. 

A few days prior to hearing about the award, I finally acted on my longstanding desire to learn how to play chess. Grand Master in mystery and in chess are two different things, but they do share commonalities. Both require plotting several moves ahead, taking into account as many outcomes as possible. As a new piece of potentially vital intel came into play in the story, I mentally moved another chess piece ahead. Sometimes a piece was removed from play; other times, a piece made an unexpected move. He did what? She spoke with so-and-so? Someone wasn’t where they said they’d be? Hmm… It was fun to try and figure out the murderer’s identity. I loved finding plausible motives for several characters, too. There are twenty-three additional novels in the series and many of them are available on audiobook. 

I enjoyed Aimee Jolson’s narration. In Hallowed Murder, she adopts a straightforward style suited to Jane Lawless’s pragmatic personality and understated sense of humor. Even with a maelstrom of emotion (confusion, anger, fear, love, etc.) swirling around her, even when her own life comes into the culprit’s cross-hairs, Jane never loses her cool. Jolson also infuses her narration with subtle characterization of the sorority sisters and household staff. Cordelia, on the other hand, is a woman who abides no subtlety. There are a few minor points that, while not detracting from my enjoyment of the story and narration, could enhance the audiobook. I would like a beat more spacing between sections, to better differentiate a change of scene. Jane’s vocal nuances were underrepresented. Her formative years were spent in England with her American father and British mother. Later, in high school, Jane moved to the United States, remaining a resident afterwards. I did not detect the accent blend, though it is mentioned early on in the novel.

This has nothing to do with the storytelling or narration, but I’ve never listened to an audiobook that gave me a 30 minute preview of the next book in the series, Vital Lies (1991). That was a very pleasant surprise! Bonus points to Griffindor!

Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart
Narrator: Aimee Jolson (Goodreads and a few other places online list Carol Jordan Stewart as narrator. She seems to be the narrator of the 1995 release. The Audible copy I have is narrated by Jolson. Maybe someday I’ll be able to compare their performances.)
Original print edition released in 1989 by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House
Length: 8 hours, 25 minutes
Audiobook release date: 2014

Available as an audiobook from Amazon/AudibleiTunes, and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability in print and/or audio.

Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: audiobooks, lgbt, mystery, series | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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