Bella Books 2012
It’s often said that when you read a book, you fall under the author’s spell. This was the experience I had when reading Lambda Literary Award-winning KG MacGregor’s latest lesbian romance, Rhapsody, from Bella Books.
When I opened the pages, what I found was a community of friends--encouraging each other to be their best selves-- and find themselves banding together to pull a reclusive lesbian, Ashley a guarded TV anchorwoman, into their fold.
The circle of friends revolves around a beauty salon, named Rhapsody, where Ashley gets her hair done. She is standoffish and studies almost every move that she makes as well as the company she keeps, fearful of tarnishing her public image. One of her first conversations, with someone she knows casually, pulls her reluctantly into this circle of friends:
“….. We were hanging out at Rhapsody the other night and talking about what to do to celebrate, and Robyn specifically mentioned that she wanted you to be there.”
Ashley wondered if that meant she had been a topic of conversation.
“In fact, we should have called you to come down and join us. Julia always does Robyn’s hair after hours, and I bring a big pot of something vegetarian that Teddie complains about while she’s eating seconds and thirds. She’s a piece of work, that one.”
“Yes, I met her. She makes quite an impression.” Of the outrageous variety.
“Doesn’t she, though? Classic baby dyke,” Elaine said. “But she’s a good kid, sort of our unofficial mascot. One thing you need to know about Teddie is that if you ever really need anything, she’ll be the first one there with it. I’ve never met anybody so loyal.”
Ashley, the reclusive anchorwoman and her hairstylist, Julia, end up falling for each other. The attraction is realistically portrayed in the emotions and undercurrents between the two women. Ashley rarely, if ever, discusses where she came from. But sitting in Rhapsody having her hair done, Ashley begins to relax when Julia tells her about her own background – which is remarkably similar. Ashley has a secret in her past which precludes intimacy. In facing her demons, Ashley grows stronger and is pulled into love with the help of the remarkably patient Julia.
There also are some complex and interesting subplots. When Teddie, the baby dyke, is faced with her close friend dying from cancer and her subsequent death, we witness Teddie's sobering, if painful, maturation process. Another well-done and complex subplot examines the developments in Ashley’s career as a broadcast journalist.
This is a novel with a happy ending. It is also a complex tour de force on some new and difficult subject matter and in the end, love is re-examined and re-defined. Rhapsody reminds us there are some things worth waiting for.
This review will be aired on This Way Out, a world-wide LGBT radio syndicate based in Los Angeles.