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I do not remember reading a Lesfic book where the two mains were in their 70's. I was interested in how Copeland would accomplish this. Unfortunately, it felt a little flat. I did not feel like I was reading about women in their 70's. They could have been 50's, maybe even in their 40's, and I don't think Copeland would have had to change anything.
Another issue I had was with the flashbacks. I think flashbacks can be important to understand why a person is the way they are. But at least half of this book was in flashbacks. And when you know the characters have been apart for 40 years, it makes the flashbacks obvious. You know something bad is going to happen, why am I putting myself through this depression.
My final issue was with the overall chemistry. We know from the book blurb, that the mains break up, but never forget their love. So I expected a pretty major love story. I just didn't feel like I got it. I didn't feel that all consuming chemistry, that makes a person ache to be apart. We are told that happens, but you don't feel it.
I do want to say that I think Copeland has talent as a writer. And I think she had an interesting idea of two people reconnecting after 40 years. It just personally did not work for me. And because I did see some good writing, in this book, I will give her another chance to win me over.
An ARC was given to me from Bold Strokes Books, for a honest review.
The blurb for The Second Wave sets up this story of longing and heartache and dreams left unrealized. Through a series of flashbacks we see how Alice and Leslie meet in the workplace and how their mutual attraction brings new discoveries for both women. Alice discovers her own sexual orientation for the first time when her friendship with Leslie at work develops into attraction leading to love and a torrid affair. Leslie has accepted her life as wife and mother joining the workforce to give her and Bill and the kids some extra cash for holidays. Her attraction to Alice is something new and intimidating to Leslie. She struggles with the knowledge that her love for Alice might mean the end to her life with her children. Call it The Price of Salt decision and one she is unwilling to make.
The flashback to the Seventies scenes were entertaining to this child of that era. I laughed at the references to lava lamps and “sitting in knee high red shag carpets”. I remembered less fondly the office sexual harassment and entitlement held by male coworkers of this less than enlightened era. All painted an accurate picture of a time and period which was full of hope yet slow to improve the lives of women wishing for more independence.
The problem with too many flashbacks (and this novel might well have been set in the past and not the present for all the time spent in italics) is that we see Alice get increasingly frustrated at Leslie’s unwillingness to change her marital situation. This frustration carries through to the present time period and made it difficult to like Alice.(view spoiler) Her actions in the present felt childish and immature. It’s too bad because that spoiled what could have been a memorable romance.
I may not agree with the layout of this novel or the extended sad panda that is Alice but I enjoyed the walk down memory lane and recognition of how far we have come as a society thanks to the outspoken women who dared to challenge the status quo.
As for the fight for Women’s Liberation? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think that the pioneers of the feminist movement brought much needed change to a society trapped in the past? This quote by Hillary Clinton from the first 2016 presidential debate shows how the battle for equality continues fifty years after Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique;
“We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work.”
Good luck with that, Hillary.
ARC received with thanks from Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley for review.