1. Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon
Paperback: 396 pages
Publisher: Ylva Verlag e.Kfr. (October 3, 2014)
Amazon: Barring Complications
Amazon Kindle: Barring Complications
It's an open secret that the newest justice on the Supreme Court is a lesbian. So when the Court decides to hear a case about gay marriage, Justice Victoria Willoughby must navigate the press, sway at least one of her conservative colleagues, and confront her own fraught feelings about coming out. Just when she decides she's up to the challenge, she learns that the very brilliant, very out Genevieve Fornier will be lead counsel on the case. Genevieve isn't sure which is causing her more sleepless nights: the prospect of losing the case, or the thought of who will be sitting on the bench when she argues it.
I was pleasantly amazed at this debut work. Blythe Rippon did an excellent job establishing time and place for her story, and she populated it with very real, very human characters. Multiple viewpoints in a novel can get tricky, but Ms. Rippon switches deftly between Victoria's and Genevieve's perspectives. The dialogue was realistic, there was an unexpected but welcome touch of humor, and the novel moved at a pace that kept me turning pages.
This was such a unique and interesting story. The characters were very well-developed and felt so realistic. The writing style was excellent, there wasn't one boring or slow part. I enjoyed it very much.
So amazingly good. One of my favorite book of the year for sure. As a non american reader I have loved how well the author explain the Supreme Court procedures and the double point of view is so well balanced that seems like the only way this story could have been told. Everything in this book is done so well that it was actually difficult for me to take brakes to do important and so much needed things like sleep! This is a book that I will re-read for sure. A wonderful and actually perfect debut that will make me wait impatiently for her next book.
The idea that this is Mrs Blythe Rippon's debut lesbian, contemporary, romance novel is astonishing as there was such depth, breadth, life, such a realness, vitality, and a thrumming of awareness and anticipation that seemed to thrum throughout every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and every page. Much like the mellifluous and (let's admit it, AMAZING) music she referenced in the book, this story vibrated and flowed like a beautiful melody. Lulling the reader into a vivaciously, entertaining book, about a notably historic moment, and while there might have been some readers who may have found their eyes glazing over at the lengthy and verbose use of legal jargon that seemed to infuse the pages of this novel, Mrs. Rippon's ability to weave their meaning without making the reader feel interminably foolish, or her cheeky way of subtly encouraging the reader to research the numerous legal cases referenced within, only serve to enhance the plot and make it more engaging and enthralling. As for the setting, between the vivid description of the biting cold that made me want to reach for a coat, the rainstorms that made me feel as if my own dress loafers were soaked through, the swimming in the pool that always made me feel exhausted (and strangely smelling of chlorine), even to the mojitos that always left a delightful taste on my tongue, Mrs. Rippon's skill at plunking the reader down in the middle of a scene and not just guiding them through it, but making them experience it, is above par. The characters, from the two main characters: Victoria and Genevieve, to the secondary characters: William, Diane, Sonya, Tara, Bethany, Pollard, Alistair, Rosie, Jamie (of HRC), Nicollete "Nic" (of NCLR), Wallace, even Roxie, etc. are all so completely well executed and well-rounded that there wasn't one character I could imagine lifting out of the novel and tossing away due to frivolity as I can so often do to many other novels. And while of these things point to the brilliance, the beauty, the sheer elegance that is Mrs. Rippon's writing style, and why she is so deserving of a score of 40/40, none do that more than the different quotes from the book to show the interaction between the characters and those directly from the case which was at the center of this novel, which I have included below. As we read and judge these books, sometimes focusing on different aspects of the books, the chemistry between the couples: physical and emotional, the plot of the story, it was lovely to read a story that had at its core a couple not only fighting for their own love, but for the rights of all same-sex couples to be able to marry in the U.S. Something of which we all celebrate, now that the battle has been won. Well done, Mrs. Rippon. Very, very, well done.
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