by Bryl R Tyne, contemporary (2009)
Noble Romance Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60592-025-2
Kendra Wright, a fifth-grade teacher, realizes that the hot principal Valerian Riche makes her heart beat faster than usual. No, Valerian is not a vampire or a demon despite his name. He's just a principal who parades around the kids in an expensive Armani suit... wait, are we sure he's not at the very least an alien from a distant planet looking for easy Earth girls? At any rate, Kendra has resigned herself to being a spinster at 29...
You think this is a Harlequin Presents story, folks? Well, think again - Kendra and an Aerosmith song have one thing in common. Dude (Looks Like A Lady) - get it? How on earth is Kendra going to believe that this relationship can work?
I picked up this title because I have never read a romance featuring a tranny before and I'm hoping this will be a nice introduction to that particular subgenre in GLBT romance. Unfortunately, this one is a disappointing read.
For example, I find it hard to believe that not only does the question of whether it is proper for a teacher to have an affair with the principal not come up, the various very intrusive cartoon secondary characters who are Kendra's colleagues are more than happy to egg her on in that direction.
I also feel quite disappointed by the lack of insight given into what makes Kendra tick despite the fact that this story is told from her first person point of view. Yes, I know she has a penis, but I also wonder - does she see herself as a woman trapped in a man's body or what? Is she saving up for a sex change? In this story, she just happens to be a one-dimensional T-girl. I wish there are more depths to her character and more insight into what makes her the person she is.
Okay, you may say that I am expecting too much from a novella. But even if I overlook the lack of depth to the story, I can't overlook the awkward and stilted prose. The hero's name isn't the only thing that feels out of place in a contemporary romance. Here is an example: I find it hard to believe that a trendy Armani-wearing modern man will use the word "wallflower" spontaneously in conversation:
"I wondered when you'd introduce yourself, Ms. Wallflower."
Wallflower? "Excuse me? I don't think I caught that." His wry grin fueled
my determination. "I'm Kendra Wright, fifth grade English and Social Studies."
Defying intimidation, I straightened my shoulders and extended my hand.
My left eye twitched as he lifted my fingers to his lips. "I'm Val. Valerian
Dominick Riche, your new principal."
I find the romance pretty hard to believe because Kendra is so sullen and stand-offish, I have a hard time imagining how anyone can warm up to her. I understand why she's not happy, but I don't get what Val sees in her beyond the obvious physical assets of hers.
As for the love scenes, they aren't anything too out-there in case you're wondering. But I find myself scratching my head at phrases such as this one:
I stroked my man-clit as he continued to drive.
I confess that it has been a long time since I thumbed through my well-worn copy of Gray's Anatomy, but I am honestly at a loss when it comes to what "man-clit" means. Urban Dictionary lists down two definitions, one pretty clinical and one pretty embarrassing for poor Kendra, and for her sake, I'd opt for the more clinical definition.
Okay, so at least I've learned what "man-clit" means by the end of the day, but If I Were A Lady... is too underdeveloped written for my liking. My inability to warm up to the author's writing style doesn't help matters either. I guess it's back to Transamerica for me as I search for a T-girl romance that is more to my liking.
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