All you need is love.
This is the first queer historical fiction I’ve ever read, and I absolutely adore it. Because of the time period in which the story is set, the book has some homomisia (explanation of that word here), transmisia, sexism, and racism (without praising or glorifying any of it, mind you). Some of this has been internalized and expressed by the characters about themselves. If this is something which may be difficult for you to read, thank you for stopping by, and I hope you pop in tomorrow. 🙂
For everyone else: OH MY GOODNESS THIS BOOK BLEW MY MIND!
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Written by Vanta, this novel is the second in the Juliana series. Olympus Nights on the Square follows Alice “Al” Huffman from May of 1945 through September of 1955. And she is desperately in love with a cabaret singer named Juliana— a very married Juliana. As the war comes to an end and society returns to the way things were (think “women giving back their jobs to the returning men”), Al finds it difficult to give up the freedom she’d felt. Through the narrative, she wrestles with her own identity, her financial future, and her undying love for Juliana.
One aspect of this book I really appreciate is how casually historical trends and figures are worked into the plot. The birth of television, the Red Scare, McCarthyism, purported scientific “cures” for homosexuality, and famous music icons like Liberace. And it’s also particularly poignant that finding accurate information about the female body was so difficult at that time, let alone books about queer people and their relationships.
More than anything, this story highlights the confusion and sheer terror associated with being queer during this tumultuous and conservative time in America. But it also brings forth the beautiful and deep bonds that only love can build.
PS: Don’t forget to buy this book!
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Buy it here and I get nothing. (I won’t judge. You do you.)