Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something to Believe by Robbi McCoy

Publisher:                Bella Books

Robbi McCoy has created one of the most appealing characters to come out of lesbian fiction in a book that is about mature relationships and dealing with people honorably. Faith is the partner and lover that every woman hopes to find.  She's the friend that everyone wishes they had.

Something to Believe opens ten years ago when Faith, who is an anthropologist, is on a cruise in China with her partner Lauren to see the Yangtze River before the dam project is completed and many cultural sites are flooded.  On the ship they meet Cassie and Jennifer who are on vacation.  They quickly become friends, especially Lauren and Cassie, who find they are attracted to each other.  Though they try to maintain a friendship, both come to accept that their attraction is too great a temptation to violate the relationships they have and they lose contact with each other.

Ten years later Lauren, now a widow, and Cassie meet by accident and decide to renew their friendship.  Lauren is mourning the loss of Faith and tortured by something she discovered after Faith's death that has shaken her belief in everything.  Cassie, now single and a successful lawyer, is still trying to resolve issues with the son she has been estranged from for many years.  Though neither is looking for a relationship, they will have to reassess everything as they become reacquainted.  Cassie know how she has felt for years, but she has to convince Lauren that it is possible to love two people equally. 

The nice thing about this book is that shows an established relationship the way it ought to be.  Faith and Lauren not only experience a profound love, but they respect and complement each other in every way that makes a partnership work.  Though they are both tempted, they have the intelligence and maturity to realize that what they have is more important than a momentary indulgence.  Too often in lesbian literature the characters seem consumed with making a connection and getting into bed and then worrying about something deeper later.  It's refreshing to see a couple who knows how to behave properly and to set their priorities correctly.  Even after Faith is gone, Lauren knows that no other relationship will work until she achieves an appropriate conclusion to the one she had with Faith.

Faith is the character who makes this book work. She establishes the tone of the first part of the book and she's a commanding presence after she departs the story physically. The irony of her is that, despite her name and the fact that she studies burial practices of various cultures, she has no belief herself in a high power or afterlife.  It's her theory of life that makes her stand out: "This is my one shot and I try to make the best of it.  Live every day with determination to make it a good one.  I'm grateful to be alive, every day."  She is not overbearing, but the way she conducts herself is a lesson she teaches by example.  She presents an optimistic attitude that is grounded in reality.  Faith sets a high standard for anyone to live by, but she represents the kind of person you can trust implicitly and wish you were more like. 

Robbie McCoy is establishing herself as one of the finest of the lesbian romance authors by building a body of work that stands above the crowd.  Something to Believe is an excellent addition to the list.

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