Spangler, Rachel. “Does She Love You?”, Bold Strokes Books, 2013.
In Love with the Same Woman
Annabelle Taylor and Nic McCoy have been loving partners for thirteen years. Annabelle is a sweetheart and she is filled with love and possesses an inner strength. Nic, on the other hand, has not had it so easy. She came from nothing and has been able to move up and have a good life and she really wants to make sure that Annabelle also has a good life. The relationship seems great until……….we meet Davis Chandler, a woman who has not been lucky in love yet somehow she feels that her life has taken a turn for the better when she realizes that she is dating the girl that she has always dreamed about. That girl, however, happens to be Nic McCoy and we see that Davis and Annabelle love the same woman.
The three women all share one trait—each is working hard to rebuild her life. Each woman has had some kind of shocking revelation that causes her to question all she knows about herself and all that each knows about the others. They face struggles as they strive for some kind of redemption while questioning truth, trust and even love.
Nic has been the dishonest woman of the three—she really thinks that she is in love with both women and she either has to find a way to keep them separate or accept that she needs both in her life at the same time. Then there is the issue of whether a relationship based upon lies can exist. Lies play a major part in the novel and sometimes they are quite shocking, so much so that I found myself turning pages as quickly as possible. Rachel Spangler has the gift of not only being able to write emotions but to do so that the reader also feels them. She also has created fascinating characters that are identifiable and very real. I thought to myself that even though the three main characters are gay women, this is not just a lesbian novel—it is a novel about people and how they react to situations that are new and almost out of the range of one’s comprehension.
As a gay man reading a lesbian novel (and I do read and review lesbian novels), I was quite worried about how I would react to the lovemaking scenes but I did just fine. There have been books where I would just skip those pages but Spangler had me roped in and I did lift my eyes from the page until I finished the book.
Everything began so simply—Nic and Davis met at a bar and Nic is swept up by Davis, so much so that she forgot that she was in a wonderful relationship (The grass is always greener….). There was excitement for Nic as well as a challenge—-she sees the signs but ignores them.
We can only imagine how Annabelle felt about what was going on right under her nose. She loved Nic and wanted her to be happy but it did not take long for the whole business to blow up and both Davis and Annabelle are not sure of anything that each had with Nic. Ultimately Nic destroys that which she loved and herself in the process. It was so easy to really abhor her—she was cheater who did not know how to deal with others and she was so dumb that she destroyed everything she touched. But then the others allowed it to happen.
The prose is pristine and the plot totally interesting but painful probably because many of us have seen something like this really happen. I am still reeling a bit as I write this review and I must say that the main thing that this book did for me was to cause me to take a good look at myself and think about what my real values are. That does not happen from reading someone else’s words.