HOPE­LESS RO­MAN­TIC

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight - CLAIRE FOS­TER

Fran­cis Gideon, Rip­tide Pub­lish­ing, Soft­cover $17.99 (236pp), 978-1-62649-556-2 is an in­cred­i­ble, vi­brant, timely ro­mance that puts the em­pha­sis on the T in LGBTQ.

What hap­pens when you fall in love with some­one who de­fies ev­ery­thing you think you know about men, women, gen­der, queer­ness, and your­self? Nick, the hero of Fran­cis Gideon’s ter­rific new con­tem­po­rary ro­mance novel Hope­less Ro­man­tic, finds him­self head over heels for Katie, a trans woman who teaches him there’s more to love than con­ven­tional la­bels.

Katie, who is not only proudly trans but also gen­der-savvy, is quick to ed­u­cate Nick when he shows his ig­no­rance about non­bi­nary or trans peo­ple. At one point, Nick ex­presses hope that since Katie “used to be a guy,” Nick won’t have to change his per­cep­tion of him­self as a gay man. Katie says, “I’m not go­ing to say that I am kind of like a guy so you can feel more se­cure be­ing gay and hav­ing this at­trac­tion to­wards me. That’s not my fault.” In this love story, the bi­nary has no place—which makes Hope­less Ro­man­tic a stand­out in a genre that of­ten re­lies on old-school in­ter­pre­ta­tions of mas­culin­ity and fem­i­nin­ity.

Gideon, a tal­ented writer, uses a tried and true formula of boy-meets-girl. This helps ground the novel’s pro­gres­sive story line. Nick, al­ready so com­fort­able with his gay iden­tity, faces the dou­ble chal­lenge of com­ing out again—this time as a bi­sex­ual man—as well as de­fend­ing his re­la­tion­ship with Katie. With a mas­ter­ful touch, Gideon elu­ci­dates many of the bi­ases within the LGBTQ com­mu­nity and talks openly about trans­pho­bia. Katie is of­ten the voice of rea­son, who catches sub­tle prej­u­dice and calls it out with con­fi­dence and hu­mor.

Can Nick and Katie have their fairy tale ro­mance? Or will they sink un­der the weight of cul­tural ex­pec­ta­tions about gay love, gen­der iden­tity, and sex­ual pref­er­ence? Hope­less Ro­man­tic is an in­cred­i­ble, vi­brant, timely ro­mance that puts the em­pha­sis on the T in LGBTQ.

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