Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU
Free On KU

Rough Around The Edges by Crystal Chard


Roxanne Mackenzie, a talented writer was on her way to Warwick University with a full scholarship when her life took an abrupt turn. Her mum was diagnosed with cancer and her needs outgrew the care that Roxanne's sister, Emma, who their mum lives were there, was capable of providing. She needs to be admitted into a home. Emma and their brother, Ben, are willing to pay all the costs for the luxurious home that they've identified, but as the oldest sibling, Roxanne feels compelled to contribute her share. Which means she needs to earn a lot of money without any real qualifications -- and ends up becoming a stripper.

During one of her daily visits with her mum, Roxanne meets Josie Calhoun, a professor who comes and reads poetry to Roxanne's mum a few times a week. There is an immediate draw between the two of them. On a night out with her friend end (and housemate), Clara, Roxanne meets Josie at a club. Josie asks her out but Roxanne doesn't quite answer.

Finally they do go on a date and things progress from there.

Written in first person PoV (Roxanne's), this book has some interesting characters. Besides Roxanne and Josie, the author also gives depth to Clara and the mum's personalities (even Emma is fairly defined, though to a lesser degree). So we have plenty of well-defined and well-realised characters (and all except one are likeable). The story is not superficial so you are completely drawn into the happenings and the people.

One of the scenes we absolutely loved was when very early in their relationship, Roxanne confesses that she is a 'pusher' by nature, i.e. She has a tendency to push people away. If only this kind of self-awareness and honesty was there IRL. Josie understands and offers that they work through this towards seeing where their relationship can go together. Wouldn't it be wonderful if such things happened outside books? (Interestingly, Josie calls herself a 'runner' but far from running, she singlehandedly builds the relationship with Roxanne -- despite Roxanne).

Initially, we liked both the leading ladies a lot. But as the book progressed, Josie grew in awesomeness and Roxanne diminished in personhood. Josie is open, honest, upfront, loving, caring and giving. On the other hand, we found Roxanne to be an emotional taker. She took not only from Josie, but also from her mate, Cayden and from Clara without really giving back,  She's not a user, just a shameless (maybe even unaware), self-absorbed, self-pitying taker. She way too woe-is-me without having any reason whatsoever for it. Everyone in her life (including the manager of the club where she works) is supportive and supporting of her and there for her in every way possible. So yeah, Roxanne was an epic fail as a person we could empathise or sympathise with.

One of the most interesting characters is the mother. We've not met any other pragmatic nihilist in lesfic and she was just so real. Such people aren't common but they are so real and we were delighted with her.

This is almost the first self-published lesfic we've read that has maybe zero typos, zero wrongly spelt words and zero misused words. Hallelujah! 

This is a well written book and though the main protagonist did not work for us, a good read nevertheless.


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