Thursday, August 18, 2011

Solstice by Kate Christie

Publisher:              Bella Books

Sam Delaney and Emily MacKenzie played soccer on the same team when they were in high school and Emily has had a crush on Sam ever since then.  Sam flees from her hometown to Seattle after the death of her brother and is surprised to discover that she's living near Emily, who is all grown up and about to become an assistant coach for the local college soccer team.  As their paths continue to cross, Sam and Emily renew their friendship and begin spending time together.  Emily knows how she feels about Sam, but is leery of a relationship since Sam is supposed to be straight.  Sam is confused about her feelings and scared of how her parents will react if she tells them she's gay.  Life was supposed to be simpler for her in Seattle, but it proves to be anything but.

Solstice is a typical romance in how it develops.  Women meet, face problems and struggle to overcome them.  It isn't typical in that it is totally devoid of the sex scenes that many romance readers want to have.  In fact, the only scene that gets close to an encounter is a fade to black episode that is reminiscent of old movies.  To some readers this will be the tease without any delivery.  

The characters also are perplexing.  One moment Emily is a "player" who is used to loving and leaving women and the next she is devoted to the pursuit of her "true love," who she has wanted for years.  Sam claims to be shocked at her feelings for Emily, but half way through the book admits that she felt something when they were in high school.  The reader might wonder if Christie was as conflicted as her characters when she was trying to write about their relationship.  The choice of the title for the book is odd unless it's supposed to be a metaphor for the length of time it takes these characters to figure out what their relationship is going to be.

Solstice is actually a pretty good story.  It's a realistic depiction of two women struggling to establish a relationship and it focuses on what happens as a relationship develops, especially when one participant is somewhat reluctant.  For those who think that some books have the characters jumping into bed too quickly, this book is event driven; however, for the romance fan who expects to be paid with an intense sexual encounter, it isn't here.  Kate Christie shows promise as a writer.  It will be interesting to see how future books develop.

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