Pam Harrison
The passing months since my first book review and interview with sensual lesbian Aussie author C.C. Saint-Clair have seen a swelling tide of interest in this woman and her published work. C.C. has an ability to create remarkably visual scenes and a talent for digging gut-deep into the emotions of her reader no matter what topic she might happen to delve into. Jagged Dreams is such a book. The central character, Tamara, is savagely attacked in a parking lot and left for dead, later found by her lover, Emilie and taken to the hospital. Barely alive, fighting for consciousness, Tamara drifts in and out of reality into her dreams and memories of her past, vague glimpses of the attack in the parking lot, and that haunted summer in Bordeaux, France, where she first met and loved Marielle, a victim of incest. Called an “intelligent and sensitive handling of the issue of abuse,” Jagged Dreams deals with homophobia and incest, but it’s really about love and commitment. It’s also about lesbian love, lust and temptation. This is the first of C.C.’s novels in which she also packs a “whodunit” inside the subplot. What else works in this novel, as in most of her others, is the way C.C. juxtaposes wonderfully sexy and poetic moments like those of Tamara and Marielle in the vineyards of Bordeaux with vile abuses of her father. The tenderness, the resilience, the gentleness of same-sex love, friendship and comfort is the overriding theme in Jagged Dreams. C.C. had this to offer about the book: “My writing’s primary focus…(is) lesbian romance that exposes the vulnerable, often emotional, side of real lesbians’ lives, warts and all, through painful introspection.” This book has received attention from a number of women’s groups and gay/lesbian welfare associations extolling the touching sensitivity she has employed on her topics, giving further kudos to her tag of “The Thinking Woman’s Lesbian Romance Writer.” She has expressed some discomfort with the title, but she is fully deserving of it, nonetheless. For those of you who are already Saint-Clair fans: C.C. is seeking an American publisher this year in hopes of widening her readership base. See what all the fuss is about! Get your own copy of Jagged Dreams today.
So I’m back to tell anyone who hasn’t already read jagged dreams by cc saint-clair that they have simply GOT to read it! I found this book compelling. I really shouldn’t have been reading it – in work when I should have been working, at home when I should have been studying, at night when I should have been sleeping…. but I just couldn’t put it down! I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, and I was GUTTED when I finished the book. I felt wronged, betrayed, let down. I just didn’t want it to end! I loved the format – a woman reliving past episodes of her life through the dream state of concussion. Gotta say I had concussion once after a ridiculous blow to the head – and it wasn’t anywhere near as good as this! Sexy and thought-provoking, Tamara’s adventures stirred in me a yearning for…… what, I don’t know. But I suspect I might find it in the rural backwaters of old- fashioned France… I can relate to the leading woman – Tamara – in lots of ways. I understand the appeal of relationships with older women, and the annoyance of them always telling u you’re younger than them! I understand the wanderlust, tho I haven’t had her opportunities to travel quite so much. I loved the way cc wrote the bilingual dialogue. Reminded me of the journeys I have taken, and the difficulties and intrigues of communication. I liked Tamara, the tomboy with her roller blades and her cursing. In some ways, she’s the perfect dyke – imperfect but fascinating, desirable, unattainable… My favourite part of the book is the last few days Tamara spends in the French countryside. I don’t wanna spoil the plot, but suffice to say that it’s not only Tamara who’s left with lasting, and very fond, memories… This book appeals to the dyke who’s done everything, the dyke who’s doing everything, and the dyke who’d do everything if she only had the chance! If u fit one of these categories, u have to read jagged dreams. It’s well written, innovative, sexy, familiar, emotionally engaging, exciting, intelligent, oh the list of appropriate adjectives is endless. So just get off yer arse and go read this book! Don’t believe me ? look out for extracts of jagged dreams on cc’s website: with love n respect to cc and her readers FreeFallxx
Far From Maddy is the second book I’ve read from C.C. Saint-Clair, the first having been Morgan in the Mirror. Saint-Clair is, in my opinion, the undisputed mistress of the sensual storyline: in my years of reading an assortment of love scenes made indiscernible by metaphors and repressed sexuality, she holds the lead in her ability to write a love scene that absolutely boils over with emotional and sensual detail. Jo tried to survive her childhood family tragedies the best she could–her mother’s illness, alcoholism and suicide, her father’s emotional absence and the loss of her much older sister when that sibling left home–but her love for Maddy triggers fear of being emotionally dependent and vulnerable despite their loving relationship. That fear leads to Jo’s “disappearance.” In Far From Maddy, a romantic escape to the beach suddenly becomes a day of terror: Maddy returns with a bottle of brandy and two plastic tumblers to find the picnic table where she had left her lover, Jo, empty. When Jo does not return from the beach, Maddy goes through a frantic week of searching for her, dealing with Brisbane police who completely dismiss her relationship with the girl and advise Maddy, “Perhaps you need to have a chat with her boyfriend and see if she’s missin’…” Jo has taken to the streets, living rough, in the Australian vernacular, in an attempt to run from her past and her fear of loss tied into her love for Maddy, but also to find the strength to confront and come to terms with the demons she hides inside. Maddy teams up with Officer Christen Jensen and begins a desperate search to find Jo and bring her home before it’s too late. Maddy’s fear and mental exhaustion are real, made even more so by society’s failure to recognize same-sex relationships and give them the same credence as a heterosexual one in cases of crime or disappearance. Far From Maddy is an outstanding read that keeps the reader bound to the book and its two protagonists, Jo and Maddy, until the final page is turned. Pam Harrison – professional and freelance writer and resides near Fort Knox, Kentucky.