Publisher: Fox in the Brush Books
Readers want to enjoy good stories and they want to know that an author can be trusted to deliver on that point. Amy Dawson Robertson is quickly joining the ranks of those who can be depended on to deliver the goods. Though she is better known for her Rennie Vogel series of adventure/suspense novels, Robertson proves in Midnight in Orlando that she can perform just as well in other genre. Officially this is a romance novella, approximately 100 pages long, but it reads with the depth and development of a full length book.
Anyone who has ever attended a lesbian literary conference will feel comfortable with the setting of this book immediately. It takes place in Orlando, Florida, where lesbians are gathering to celebrate the books written for and by their community. The story features two “Con virgins,” the term used for people who are attending the conference for the first time. Susan Voight is a lawyer from Baltimore who faces the same problem many professional women encounter. She works so many hours that there is no time to form a personal relationship. She escapes the stress of her job by reading lesbian romance novels and that is what impels her to suddenly decide to attend the conference. Nic Green believes she is neurotic and suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although her therapist keeps telling her that neither is true. She has been a successful author of lesbian romances for many years and is considered a mysterious icon because she has never appeared in public. Nic decides to expand her horizons and try meeting some of her fans, which is what brings her to the conference.
What proceeds from this is a string of humorous situations bringing the women together. Susan finds herself trying to duck a lawyer’s conference that happens to be in the same hotel, afraid that someone will discover her reading choices. Nic goes to bizarre lengths to make herself “comfortable” in her hotel room and hide out, only to discover she is the keynote speaker for the conference. For a while Susan believes that Nic might actually be mentally ill because of her behavior, but there is something compelling about each woman for the other. Swirling around them are the events of the conference. People who have attended one of these meetings will recognize the events and possibly some of the supporting characters that Robertson peppers throughout the story.
Midnight in Orlando is a gem. It’s short enough to read quickly, but the characters are completely developed and enough is revealed about the events to make the story flow smoothly. It’s a good example of how writing can be compact yet contain a great deal of information. This is good reading, plain and simple.