3.5 stars, rounding up
What’s the opposite of a slow burn? A fast…frostbite? Except that implies that the story was in some way cold, which this is not. In my ongoing quest to hetdiversify my reading list, I find this markedly more enjoyable than both of the “logical + astrology” pairings. But there’s such a short bit of At First Sight Antagonism, and I realized that that is something I’m very into. Lucy and Catherine see each other, have a bit of a misunderstanding, realize they’re both into working quietly away from the presence of overbearing men, and are then off to the races in…50 pages? I think?
But for what it’s worth I’m all about non-tragic, non-pining historical lesbian romance. It’s comforting to know that the worst part of everyone’s lives is behind them, a sort of genteel closeted life (the way that the Bennets lived in genteel poverty). The enemies are the Patriarchy, and they are taken down in a way that is satisfying if choreographed from miles away.
In another more modern flourish, there are characters of color sprinkled around as well. Perhaps out of a surefit of caution they remain Gooder than Good. I did find it confusing that Catherine’s female ladies’ maid was named Narayan, which is a very, very male name. More brain cells than were originally allocated to this novel were spent trying to square that away (maybe it’s her last name??) but at the end of the day it is what it is. That Narayan the Maid worries about colorism and is roundly disabused of that notion (and is given a chance to be homophobic and fails quite miserably) is a nice cherry on top as well.