Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: His Kind of Woman by Nona Raines

“When Roy Girard went looking for Victor Varrano, he never expected a woman to answer the door. He soon discovers that Victor is now Venetia. Roy’s startled, but even more surprised by his attraction to her. As they spend time together, he doesn’t want to let her go. But she’s sure to dump him when she learns his secret.

Venetia’s falling hard and fast for Roy. But when she learns that his brother was the bully who tormented her in high school, she’s shattered. She can’t wrap her head around the fact that the man who made such amazing love to her could so completely betray her trust.”

Dear Ms. Raines,

When Loose-Id sent us a list of titles for possible review, I picked this one out. Why? Because it features a transgender character. Yep, that was all it took. Readers have gently chided us for the dearth of LBTQ reviews at Dear Author and I decided this year to try and remedy that.

his-kind-of-womanThis is a novella with a lot of ground to cover. Some things are already established and some need to be worked out. Venetia has already undergone her GRS and finally feels that her body matches who she’s always known she is. Roy used to be the bully his half brother also was but before his death, Travis had come out as Gay causing Roy to examine his own feelings towards those who might not fit into heteronormativity.

But just the mention of her former name brings back hurtful, old memories to Venetia and when Roy discovers she’s a transgender woman, his confusion over his initial attraction to someone he thought was a hot woman makes him step back. Their relationship continues only because of Venetia’s curiosity about why Roy was seeking her out and his desire to fulfill his dead brother’s wish to apologize to Venetia. I like that their feelings move from attraction-but-not-acting-on-it, through friendship and then to sex. By the time they’re in bed, I can believe that it means something to them both.

“Sex had never been important before. There’d been women, sure, but an over-the-road trucker’s life was hard on relationships. Too much time apart. Easier just to settle for casual hookups. It was hi, how ya doin’, it’s on, see ya around.
He’d never been in love before.”

The humor is a plus too.

“He lifted her in his arms and carried her down the hall. But since he didn’t know where her bedroom was, he almost deposited her in the bathroom. Okay, maybe he wasn’t Don Juan.”

And what Roy’s wearing – or soon to be not wearing – made me think of the wonderful blues song, “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On.”

The sexing is hot and specific to their situation as Venetia calms her worry about size with the knowledge that she’s been faithfully using her dilator but wait! there’s still more conflict to deal with. Venetia’s reaction to the news that Roy – this man she’s just let make love to her – is the brother of the bully who made her life a misery is dead on. She wants Roy out of her house and her life. Roy’s anger that Venetia is dissing Travis without hearing the circumstances – this is his brother after all – also makes sense.

Not until one of Venetia’s friends – yes! she’s a woman with friends and a full social life and is a well rounded character – reminds her that people can change does Venetia decide to offer Roy another chance to prove himself. She lets him into a bit more of her life and what’s important to her – the LGBTQ group of teens she mentors. Roy picks the perfect Sam Cooke song to dance to in order to tell her – and the people who also care about her – how he really feels.

I was happy that this isn’t a Gay Utopia, though, as shown by a coulda been awful encounter Venetia has in a bar and the fact that she felt the town needed a place where LGBTQ teens could feel accepted. With all these positives, why the B grade? The section where Roy delves via the internet into what transgender means came across to me as slightly preachy and stilted. Still I think a lot of issues are covered here and done well. B

~Jayne

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

20 Comments

  1. Darlynne
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 11:58:14

    The book doesn’t appear to be at amazon, although others of Ms. Raines are. I will keep looking through the other links.

    Your comment that Roy’s internet search felt preachy may be because of the way the author wrote it, I don’t know. I can say without hesitation that it’s completely believable because that’s exactly what I did after reading your review. There’s so much I don’t know, but you’ve given me a place to start. Thank you.

  2. Sunita
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 12:07:29

    Great review, Jayne, this sounds well worth picking up. It reminds me a little of the movie about the trans* character who meets her high school classmate again, Different For Girls, which I think you reviewed here at DA.

    I find that a lot of LGBT books have didactic sections, so I’m not surprised to see it surface here . Given the relatively high level of ignorance about trans* issues in society as a whole, I can see why the author put it in, although it’s always better when it’s integrated and not preachy feeling.

    @Darlynne: LooseId used to hold back all its new releases from Amazon for about a month, to maximize sales at its site. It doesn’t do that for all books now, but sometimes there’s still a bit of a lag. It should definitely show up at Amazon, though.

  3. Susan
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 13:15:11

    @Sunita: I wonder how productive this really is for them. I was interested in the book, clicked the AZ link, but it’s not there. That doesn’t make me rush over to the LooseID site instead. Frankly, it just annoys me. I’ll try to remember to check again later but, life being what it is, it’s more likely I’ll forget.

  4. Jill Sorenson
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 13:20:11

    Great review, Jayne! I enjoyed His and Hers and Hers (m/f/f) by this author. I think she did a nice job with the threesome relationship.

  5. Jayne
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 13:53:30

    @Susan: It doesn’t seem to be available from any of our link sites yet which is a shame because I’m like you in wanting to buy something I’m interested in now instead of in a few days or weeks. Sometimes I remember and check back but more often than not, it’s a lost sale.

  6. Jayne
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 14:03:16

    @Darlynne: I’m still learning myself and found “Transgeneration” (documentary), “Transamerica” (film), “Different for Girls” (film) and “Trinidad” (documentary) plus internet searches to be helpful.

    ETA “Southern Comfort” (documentary) is also good.

  7. Jayne
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 14:09:00

    @Jill Sorenson: Thanks! She also has a BDSM prequel to this novella for sale.

  8. Jayne
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 14:15:25

    @Sunita: The didactic bit wasn’t too much of the book but it just felt so clumsy and obviously there to Make a Point. The subject is treated sensitively anyway so it seemed superfluous.

  9. Raven Ames
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 15:40:10

    The premise of this book reminded me of the movie Different For Girls, which I really enjoyed when it came out. It was my first experience with a transgendered romance – very sweet romantic movie and I’ve never forgotten the dilator scene! I’ll have to check this book out.

  10. Nona Raines
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 17:49:38

    Hi, Jayne. I’m never sure if it’s proper for an author to leave a comment, but thanks so much for taking the time to read and review His Kind of Woman. I’m so happy that on the whole you were pleased with it. A few folks have commented about the novella’s availability. It will only be available at the Loose Id site, as it is a “Fling”–a novella of less than 20,000 words. I know that’s a bit of a bummer for those of us (myself included) addicted to that good old one-click :-).

    People have been mentioning some wonderful movies, so I’d like to mention “Ma Vie en Rose”, about a little boy who identifies as a girl. It’s a French film that’s funny and touching. And I love “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On”! I’m familiar with Gaye Adegbalola’s version.

  11. Susan
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 18:33:33

    @Nona Raines: Congratulations on your book and I hope it does well for you at LooseID.

    @Jayne:
    That said, if LooseID provided this to DA for review it was disingenuous of them (at best) given your policy against sole-source books. If something is available only at AZ, it’s off-limits. Should also be true for books available only thru a publisher! This just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry.

  12. Lou
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 19:07:32

    I went to go buy this book as soon as I read your review but couldn’t find the title anywhere. :(

    I wonder how many lost sales (count me as a lost sale) there have been because the publisher decided to source it at their website only.

  13. Jane
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 19:09:26

    @Susan – We just get a list of books available for review. I don’t think we were aware that the book wasn’t available anywhere other than LooseId.

  14. Susan
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 19:16:10

    @Jane: This is on the publisher, not DA. They should have been up front with you (and any other reviewers). Not cool.

  15. Sunita
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 19:28:23

    @Susan: I think this was a simple mixup, not an attempt to circumvent our rules. LooseId sends us a list of books that are available for review, and the information for each book lists word and page counts. This was marked as a Fling, but unless you are a knowledgeable LooseId reader you wouldn’t know that Flings are publisher-only releases. I have reviewed quite a few LI stories of different lengths over the years and I rarely thought about it, although I knew the books weren’t available immediately at 3rd party retailers.

  16. Becky
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 19:33:56

    I’m always on the look out for well written stories with trans* characters, so I’ll be checking this one out. It’s a bit of a bummer that it can only be purchased at the publisher’s website. But trans* romances are rare enough that I don’t mind going a couple clicks out of my way to get a good one.

    For those who would like to check out other romances with trans* characters, Pearl by Kelly Rand and Circle of Change by Laney Cairo are both quite good.

  17. Kaetrin
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 21:24:02

    Oh, this sounds goooood. Bummer it’s only available at LooseID but I shall still buy it.

  18. Ridley
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 21:47:14

    I haven’t added many books to my shopping lists lately, but a good number of the ones I have were prompted by your reviews, Jayne. Thanks for making the effort to seek out the underrepresented romances. I appreciate it.

  19. Luce
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 15:54:05

    I’m not in the habit of buying short stories.However, this review tipped me over to spend a few $$. Well-written romances featuring trans* characters are, sadly, quite rare.

    FWIW, I’m a tad annoyed that I couldn’t buy it at my usual places (ARE or B&N). However, this seems like a really good story to pass up. :)

  20. Reading List by Jayne for Spring/Summer 2013
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 10:02:22

    [...] His Kind of Woman by Nona Raines – A “fling” length offering only available from Loose – Id’s website this is a trans* woman finding love with a man she has reason to distrust due to the past actions of his brother. Trans* characters are few and far between in romance and I think this one is worth checking out even if you can’t one-click it. Review [...]

%d bloggers like this: