Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Tides of Passion by Diana Tremain Braund

Publisher:               Bella Books

Diana Tremain Braund has been writing novels for a number of years and is a well-known name in lesbian fiction. The nice thing about that is she has a proven track record with her earlier books. You know when you buy one that you are going to read a story that you like. She adds to that tradition with her latest work, The Tides of Passion.

The central question in this book is, how long do you hold onto a relationship that is no longer working? How long do you stay loyal to a commitment and resist the temptation provided by what could be a more fulfilling life? Amy Day and Kelly Burns live on Bath Island, Maine, where Amy runs an antique shop and Kelly is the director of nursing at the local hospital. Their relationship has been unsatisfactory for Kelly for a long time. Amy can be loving and kind, but most of the time she is emotionally abusive towards Kelly and hypercritical of whatever she does. Kelly is trying to hang on to make the situation work because she doesn't believe that you walk out on a commitment, but she is suffering greatly in silence.

All of that will begin to change when Susan Iogen arrives on the island. Susan is the publicity representative for a company that wants to use the island for a liquid natural gas depot. This would mean badly needed jobs for the community, but it would also change the nature of life there forever. The opposition to the project organizes quickly with Amy as its leader. Kelly stays out of most of the activities because she is busy at the hospital and this adds more tension to what is happening between her and Amy. 

Eventually, Kelly meets Susan, who represents the antithesis of everything Amy believes in, but who holds a special attraction for Kelly. As Amy becomes more immersed in the fight against the company, Kelly and Susan are drawn together, leading to an eventual betrayal.  Kelly breaks the rules and the reader is left to decide if her actions are a justified reaction to Amy's behavior or a selfish indulgence. How will Kelly resolve the situation she then finds herself in?
Braund uses a number of richly drawn supporting characters who help to flesh out the story. One particular favorite is Elizabeth Robinson, a crusty island dweller who acts as the crone of the lesbian community and shows a sense of adventure and fun that makes her a joy to read about. There are situations used that help to explore the characters more fully and lend depth to the story. This is a romance, but it's the story of the death and birth of romance at the same time. Braund's books are always worth reading and this is one of her better ones.

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