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Kate Genet is a New Zealand author who enjoys writing books with strong lesbian characters. Even if they don't start out feeling all that strong, they've usually found their tenacity and self-assurance by the time she's done with them; characters you can like, admire, and wish you knew - maybe they're even a bit like you. With her interest in telling compelling stories she spreads herself across a few genres within lesbian fiction - supernatural suspense, adventure, science fiction and fantasy, and now romance. Keep up to date with her writing life and new releases by visiting her website at kategenet.com (coming January 2014).
She also writes mainstream speculative fiction under the name Kate Hansen.
on May 26, 2013 :
"Irrevocable" grabbed me right from the cover image. A woman stands on a dark pier, staring out to sea. There is something self-contained and lonely about this figure. Yet the dark red of the title promises passion.
And so we have it: 25-year-old Serenity is taking her dying wife Lillian, a woman in her 40s with end-stage cancer, back home to see her mother in a little country village. It will be their last road trip, Serenity thinks, and her plan is to get Lillian safely into hospice in the city after that. Serenity is a practical sort of person, but clearly is far too young to take on the psychological burden of caring for a dying loved one. She has created a wall between herself and Lillian, viewing her wife like an exhausting child: "Illness was a terrible thing, regressing the sufferer to childlike dependence, and making a mother out of a wife and lover."
But on their way to the village, they encounter strange orbs in the sky, which follow them and land on their car. Serenity is burned, but her fear is all for Lillian.
Our view of Serenity changes over time, as she is drawn to a local woman, Julie, and they begin an affair. Serenity's restlessness is beautifully drawn here. The lovers are sympathetic at first, until we begin to see that Julie has a different agenda. Serenity leads a double life for awhile, tending to Lillian at her mother's house, skipping out to see Julie, but this is a book where there is definitely a big climax brewing.
I loved the way Genet drew me along in this satisfying story. In case readers are put off by the subject matter--don't be. Sure, terminal illness is part of the plot, as is the supernatural element of the lights and what they mean. But the constantly shifting love and tenderness between the two main characters ends up being the subject of the book, after all.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on May 09, 2013 :
Serenity’s wife Lillian is dying. Serenity can’t come to terms with it. Cancer has woven it’s devastating tentacles throughout her beloved Lillian’s body and also figuratively, through Serenity’s own heart, making her question her love for Lillian. It’s now got to the stage where Serenity is no longer a wife to Lillian, just a nursemaid. When did it all change? After the diagnosis certainly, but it must have come on gradually.
Serenity and Lillian embark on a road trip to allow Lillian to say her final goodbyes to her mother.
A strange encounter with a weird light on the journey has Serenity questioning herself as to whether she’s had a glimpse of the supernatural.
When Serenity meets Julie, a neighbour of Lillian’s mother, she finds a comfort she knows she shouldn’t. She loves her wife, doesn’t she? Even though she’s questioned it in the past.
Serenity is seeing more of the strange glowing orbs. She’s convinced these lights are going after Lillian for some reason. Somehow everything all seems to be connected, the lights, Lillian, Julie. What are these lights? Who or what are they after?
When the truth finally emerges, Serenity has to make some choices that she’d rather not make. Serenity isn’t liking any of these weird goings on, not one little bit.
Another excellent story from master storyteller, Kate Genet. A page turner from beginning to end. I have to admit, when I read the synopsis, I was wary of the subject matter. Death and dying isn’t exactly light reading. But, this isn’t a regular story of someone with a terminal illness. Although, I have to say, it was heart breaking in parts. But Kate Genet handled the subject with an incredible sensitivity and understanding.
The encounter with the supernatural was tense and spell binding. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out which direction this story was heading in. I have to say, I was in two minds as to whether I liked Serenity and Julie or not. Don’t misunderstand me, their characters were very well written and formed. It was their behavior that I wasn’t over joyed with. But I have no idea how I would react if I was in Serenity’s or Julie’s position. I did warm to them both in the end. My heart though was with Lillian. Terminally ill and defenceless, her character really tugged at my heart strings. The rest of the characters bolstered up the main characters and enhanced the story through to it’s astounding conclusion.
I never know what to expect when I pick up a Kate Genet book. Her stories are always so diverse and no two stories are ever the same, or even similar. She writes in a nice easy to read comfortable way, making her books a must buy for me.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Kelli Jae Baeli
on Feb. 07, 2013 :
Once again, Kate Genet has wowed me with her ability to tell a story, and keep me plastered to the page to see what happens. Irrevocable is every bit as enticing and engaging as all her other books.
The atmosphere she creates is like standing in a virtual reality machine, where created events feel so real, you forget where your actual reality resides. Her mastery of turning a phrase, creating just the right sensation, and surprising you with the depth of her words, is still, in my mind, second to none.
Handling the subject of death and dying is not for the faint of heart, yet Genet touches the reader with her understanding of the intricacies of courage, loyalty, devotion, individuality and in this story--even fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of loss, of helplessness, fear of where the boundary between the individual and the couple should go, and how wide and tall it should be. Genet illustrates for us here, that there are no easy answers, and right and wrong remains a gray area, while the known and the unknown eludes us.
Irrevocable brought me to tears in a few places, made me sacrifice at least four fingernails from gnawing at them as I read; and always, I was willingly led to wherever she wanted me to go--to the very edges of tension, suspense and curiosity.
The impact of this story is, itself, irrevocable.
(reviewed the day of purchase)