This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, F/F Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on February 27, 2019
Far from Home is a Green Card romance that hits the reader like a sleeper wave when it reveals it’s true depth and feeling. The blurb caught my attention as did the promise of revisiting an author through a later series and trying a narrator for the first time.
Far From Home is the first in the Belladonna Ink series that all take place in a Southern California coastal town and loosely tie together around a women’s tattoo parlor that produces inked artistry. This book introduces Rachel, a hard on her luck assistant director in a small movie company, and Pari, a workaholic businesswoman, at a party when a slightly tipsy Rachel tells a near stranger that she’d marry her to help her get her green card. It turns out that Pari took her at her word and offered to help with Rachel’s school loans in exchange for a marriage.
But soon after the arrangements are in the works, Rachel realizes that she’s in over her head after making one big, impulsive decision. Her recovering from anorexia, never addressed issues with her mother, her near asexuality because of the body image issues tied in with the anorexia and then there are Pari’s rebound from a relationship break up and a whirlwind mother who wants the family’s Indian traditions present in a marriage she doesn’t realize is as fake as Rachel. Yep, a lot for Rachel to sift through and that was before she realized that she’s caught feelings and attraction for Pari. Can her life get any more complicated?
Far From Home is told from Rachel’s first person point of view. As such, it felt more like Rachel’s story of healing and discovery with a strong romance element. I didn’t mind, but I did have to adjust my expectations. In truth, Rachel has so many things going on in her life on a very private level that are either still unhealthy or only starting to heal that there is no way she can even be in a place to have a relationship and be in love. She hates herself, through and through. She can’t let people see or touch her skin, she believes any shaming, name-calling thing anyone has tossed at her in the past, and her mother’s coldness and distance, she takes that on, too. Pari, even with a recent break up of a pattern where she keeps falling for straight women , is still in a healthier place. She gives stability, acceptance, and genuine admiration to Rachel.
I have to say that I was ready to give Rachel a boot up the butt for holding things up as long as she did. If it had been for any reason other than she considers herself straight and is in denial, I would have not cared. But, I was stuck right there in her head from the get go when she is all over attracted to Pari from their first meeting. Rachel has a best friend who is lesbian and her uncle is gay while her mom doesn’t care. I suppose its different when its yourself.
The book did hit me with one more big surprise when one of the sex scenes got hot in the bedroom with a D/s vibe going on. Wasn’t expecting that. Not that I minded, but it took me by surprise especially when Rachel is new to sex and struggles with intimacy (not that it was forced or non-consensual). The gals were definitely sizzling together.
This was an interracial romance and I thought Indian characters like Pari and her mother, culture, and traditions were handled respectfully and seemed authentic to my very limited understanding. I have friends from Tamil Nadu and this seemed on par with my visits with them.
So, Jill Smith. She was a first time narrator for me. I really liked her voice. It had a soothing and calm quality that made it a great match for Rachel’s introspection that took place a lot throughout this book. She let the story tell itself with more a pure narrator style rather than acting the story. She also did good with the Indian accent.
All in all, this one had a depth I wasn’t expecting while offering a blend of heartwarming friendship and spicy F/F contemporary romance that I can definitely recommend.
My thanks to Riptide for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
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