Lush Lives

Roxane Gay: Grove Atlantic Aug. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780802161987. $28. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
Two women’s paths collide with hidden history in Lyon’s debut print novel (after her Audible original novel The Groves). Glory Hopkins, a Black artist who has inherited her great-aunt Lucille’s brownstone in Harlem, hopes to make her name in New York’s art world. As Glory struggles to make meaning from Lucille’s surprising bequest and all of her treasured possessions, she becomes involved with Parkie de Groot, a disabled auction-house appraiser who is as devoted to her work as she is attracted to Glory. Glory and Parkie have intoxicating chemistry, but their budding relationship quickly becomes complicated by questions of identity and ethics, as well as the growing understanding that they may have discovered an unusual literary document amongst Lucille’s papers. Lyon writes a compelling and sexy story of the lives of queer women, both past and present, grounded in the beautifully drawn atmosphere of Harlem. The novel successfully blends real and speculative history to evoke what may hide in the silence of historical records.
VERDICT This will appeal to readers who enjoy sapphic romance or literary mysteries and especially to those who enjoyed Nella Larsen’s Passing.
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