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DC now has gender neutral ID. Oregon will shortly have gender neutral ID.

Australia, India and Canada already have gender neutral ID. I want gender neutral ID in Massachusetts! Please!

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Recently, I was looking for something or other on Amazon (basically: I was awake and breathing and not out on a walk) and stumbled across Kyrja's _Rupert's Tales_. How cool are these! The bunny is adorable. The art is simple but appealing and not overly sentimental. The rhymes could become a bit much, but these aren't exactly the sort of book that one sits down looking for sophisticated verse.

I think what I like best about these books is how tactile the language is. Trees have "long, knobby knees". Rupert's bunny-eye view of ritual is really appealing, because the explanation always comes _after_ watching without knowledge. Never mind children: isn't this how it is with anyone, of any age, when first encountering an unfamiliar sacred act?

Rupert's heart speeds up and slows down, a realistic and tangible way of communicating his intense reactions to events like the arrival of an owl. "the twitching in his long legs began to relax". While the owl's explanation contrasts animal perceptions with human, it doesn't actually come down solidly on any particular conception of divinity, which I really appreciate. I was particularly pleased that Kyrja devoted some lines to acknowledging love of all kinds.

I read the Beltane section to T., and he liked the pictures and the story. We've been reading Wendy Pfeffer's books on the Solstices (most consistently in winter): _The Shortest Day_ and _A New Beginning_, and also her harvest book, _We Gather Together_. But I really like Rupert's Tales for being solidly grounded in a particular tradition that it isn't all that easy to find kids books about.

Happy Beltane! Give someone a hug and a kiss today, and remember that it doesn't just feel good. It is Good.
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H.P. knows Mollena, and I get updates from her periodically and saw some of the wedding photos that circulated, and before that, some photos of them as a couple. They are, easily, two of the most adorable people in kink.

I particularly love this paragraph:

"Mr. Haas contrasted the effect on his style to the struggles of Schubert and Tchaikovsky with homosexuality. “What you perceive is not the fact that they desired men,” he said, “but the sadness about the impossibility to make love a reality. And I think that has been part of my music. The fundamental pessimism. You never will get what you want because it’s not possible to get it. That is how my life has changed so intensely.”"

Mollena has been teaching this, and living this, for a long while. I love that she has now attained an even better platform to communicate how important it is for people to be able to love who they love, in the way that they give and receive love.

I am amazed that I woke up today to an NYT article about this couple. It is reassuring that, however one might feel about the attitudes of some groups within our society, as a whole, the arc of history is headed in the right direction.
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Subtitled: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

There are some word-os (intimated when intimidated was meant, inappropriate duplication of words such as "that that" when it is not called for, missing words, etc.). It is a little irritating.

The reviews over on Amazon are a little startling as I type this: 44 reviews, 2 stars overall. Virtually all of the negative reviews are in-movement objections along the lines of, hey, HRC isn't really all that and Chad shouldn't get all the credit and Windsor is the case that is actually being used as precedent etc.

Jo Becker has written one of the most amazing sourcing essays at the end of this book that I have ever read. I didn't read it first and I'm not sure whether I should have or not. She presents an incredible amount of dialogue and self-described feelings throughout the years that the book covers, but did it in a way that just sort of slid right into my brain as part of the story (often, this kind of stuff makes me go, are you inventing this based on recollection? Did everyone keep really good journals? Was there video? WTF?). Turns out she was actually there for a huge fraction of what she describes: she embedded early on with the plaintiffs and other parties (Judge Walker, defending counsel Cooper) were very generous with their time in interviews at the end of the process.

Becker starts with Prop 8 passing, and an effort started by Chad Griffin and Kristina Schake to legally challenge it in court that succeeded in arriving, eventually, at the Supreme Court along with Edie Windsor's estate tax/DOMA challenge. Griffin and Schake get the Reiners to help fund raise, and they bring in Ted Olson who, in turn, brought in David Boies, guaranteeing an enormous amount of media coverage throughout the various legal maneuvering (since these guys had faced off against each other in Bush v Gore in addition to being high profile as individuals). If you're old enough to be reading this, you more or less had some awareness of this case as it inched along: the mystery of who is Cooper? California declining to defend Prop 8 and the question of standing on the part of the people who filed Prop 8 to defend it in turn. The trial itself with the disappearing defense witnesses and the question of whether it could be taped and put up on YouTube. The various delays that led to the DOMA cases catching up to it. Obama's "evolving" position on marriage equality. Biden "getting in front of his skis". The 2012 election cycle. Whether the case would be certified and then the decision to hear it and Windsor together. The marriages at the end.

Marriage equality existed as a movement long before this case got started, and Becker's presentation guarantees that you won't be _that_ surprised at the nature of the negative reviews on Amazon. Every significant social/civil rights movement has many stages that it passes through before succeeding in changing the world in a way that makes our own past that much more incomprehensible. Becker was there for when marriage equality passed from being an issue deprecated from many sides (on the one hand, because marriage itself is regarded by some as a very problematic institution; on another hand, because it was too important to risk dangerous precedent against marriage equality; on a third hand, because procreation/ew gross <-- full disclosure, I fell firmly into the first group, altho I'm not a sufficiently principled creature to object to actually being Partner A in a Massachusetts marriage in August 2004) to being a cause that ordinary people who had once voted for same-sex marriage bans were prepared to support because they now knew and felt strong connections of friendship, kinship and love for people who were suffering from being cut off from this basic institutional building block of our society. That pivot -- from a marginal, unpopular, but passionate group of people who are at the vanguard to a mainstream, popular, oh, wait, if they're in favor of it it probably isn't cool any more -- is a difficult one for those who are early adopters of important changes.

Becker praises her cast of characters highly, and presents many of the people who struggled against and/or with them less positively. If you're hoping for journalism of the don't-take-sides variety, this is not it. But it is a rollicking good tale, and while a lot of people are taking shots at the book, they do not appear to have any beef with the details, so much as they do with the framing -- and the trouble they have with the framing is sufficiently self-serving that I think we can all just agree to disagree.

Go read it. This was _fun_, even more so than Warren's _A Fighting Chance_.

ETA: I know some of the objections to marriage equality involve identity politics concerns on the part of people who don't fit into the dyadic, permanent relationship model of "marriage". There are some real trigger-y moments reading this (anyone who identifies as bi- or poly- or anywhere near there on some spectrum is going to find a lot of the rhetoric irritating if not infuriating). For me, it is also bittersweet to read so many stories of people who finally came around as accepting/loving parents/family members in the course of the case (especially in the wake of Biden/Obama/etc. coming out in favor of marriage equality as a right). I am _so very happy_ for all those families. And they provide such a contrast to my relationships with my own parents, older sisters and other JW family members.
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I started writing a piece about mainstream vs. pullout classrooms, and another one about social promotion vs. grade retention, and I had lined up a third about integrated inclusive district preschools and it suddenly dawned on me that for the first time in years I feel like I have a whole bunch of stuff to add to my reproduction/parenting book. Once I started thinking about it that way, I started a list of topics to include, and when I hit The Birds and the Bees, I went, holy moly, that's going to be complex.

I've already shared the initial draft with one person. If you are interested in contributing comments/suggestions/wtf to a draft of what parents should be covering when talking to kids about gender identity, orientation, relationship orientation, consent, sexual repertoire, managing attachment, avoiding disease and planning pregnancy, blah, blah, bleeping blah, I'd love to get your perspective. Feel free to list things you plan to/have already talked to your kids about, or which you wish other parents would, or whatever, in the comments, or drop me a line. If you want to read what I'm working on and comment as I go along, that could be arranged as well. The document is currently living on google docs until I publish it to my website.
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(1) I BELIEVE (shouty capitals) in spoilers. I will spoil this book for you if you haven't read it already.

(2) 50SOG is a book with a lot of sex in it. If you don't know what book I'm talking about, well, you should probably leave now. If you are the kind of person who is uncomfortable reading about sex or in a place where doing so is Not Appropriate, you should probably leave now.

(3) If you are an elderly relation of mine mostly reading my blog for family stuff, this is not only about sex, but kinky sex of the hitting kind. I'm sorry you learned this about me, but if you're not, well, yay.

Everyone read this thing before I did, because I stupidly believed people within the BDSM community who critiqued it saying it depicted a Bad BDSM relationship. They are wrong. I changed my mind and read a sample chapter and then the whole first book after learning that at least one person at CSPC had positive things to say about the book and the people who were finding the center after reading the book(s) -- and that they required a lot less reprogramming to Behave Appropriately (<-- my summation) than, say, the Gor or Marketplace fans.

I've read BDSM novels before (mostly when I'm reading triad books or paranormal fiction and the BDSM sort of comes as part of a package). I'm sort of a tourist or chipper when it comes to kink: I've done some, I know about more, and I can take it or leave it. I would characterize the BDSM in 50SOG as Lite. Christian makes a joking reference to TPE 24/7, but it is never explained. The restraints used are nothing fancy (starting with adaptive clothing use -- a tie -- working through cable ties and up to leather cuffs, IIRC). There is absolutely No Edge Play. The hard limits list was worth relaying to someone with considerably more experience than I have: "Wait, I think I've done all of those," which was, of course, my point -- cutting, permanent marking, fire, electricity, all out, and Christian never gets anywhere near CBT in volume one.

If someone is prepared to honestly tell me there is CBT in a later entry in this trilogy, I swear I will stay up all night reading it (<-- I'm not worried about losing any sleep here). (If you are trying to figure out what that acronym is using google and getting confused by cognitive behavior therapy, add BDSM to your search box and you'll be a-o-good. But don't blame me -- you shouldn't search on things like that in google!)

50SOG is supposedly Twilight fan fiction, but it is pretty loosely inspired, if that. EL James is pulling from a lot of sources, including a ton of romance novel subgenres (the billionaire who is bizarrely taken with the mousey admin, the sexual sophisticate who is ensnared by the virgin who presents herself as more experienced than she is, the rake who wants to have a Girlfriend Experience but can't convince the woman he loves that he is capable of love, the Tortured Soul with the extensive sexual repertoire and weird hangups, the judgy mcjudgerson woman is becomes open minded after a Whole Lot of Great Orgasms, etc.). There's a huge cinderella thing going on with Anastasia and the presents, with the usual pseudo-feminist petulant complaining layered on top (oh, no, I really cannot accept first edition Tess/Macbook/Audi/clothing/use of your private jet/etc. from you). I've never had much love for this structure: either say no and make it stick, or say thank you and come up with something as thoughtful but within a price range you can manage when you reciprocate. There is very little in life as irritating as being prevented from enjoying the things you can afford in order to have a relationship with someone you love. I feel sorry for the rich guy when people are asses about the presents he (or she) is giving -- unless he's a jerk about it, which I didn't really think Christian was.

One of the scenes in 50SOG struck me as imaginative and wonderful: when Grey spread-eagles Ana and blindfolds her after putting earbuds in her ears. Timing strokes to medieval church music is ... kinda pretentious and silly, but the sensory limitation/stimulation strategy is an excellent one.

For the most part, however, the scenes are fairly typical for erotic romance novels (they go down on each other, they do it facing, not facing, horizontal, vertical, in a tub, etc.). There is no anal, the digital penetration is minor (a couple fingers -- fisting is on a list of possible activities but they never get anywhere near it).

The order of events is fairly typical for a romance novel: they are thrown into each other's company by accident, he pursues her, she is flustered but attracted, they have a few more clothed meetings, they have sex, they have more sex, she has second thoughts and goes on a trip by herself, he joins her but then has to leave suddenly, they get together upon her return and then there's a Big Miss. At that point, volume one ends (and yes, I did notice that this is a three volume novel, not a trilogy per se).

The problems that Christian and Ana have involve BDSM but are universal: they are two people inexperienced at intimate relationships (he's had sex but not relationships; she hasn't had either but has probably had more interdependent friendships than he has) and young enough to lack perspective. While they both enjoy being with each other, they have taken pains to tell the other up front what they want/expect from a relationship and they have sort of concluded that there isn't much overlap. They persist anyway and their Big Miss arises when Ana in a fit of pique decides she wants to know How Bad This Can Get. Christian should have called a halt (it's 5 a.m. in the morning!), especially since Ana drew an analogy between how he felt about having his chest touched and how she felt about being hit, but that was a hell of an apple to be offered. I think a 27 year old in his first serious relationship can be forgiven for taking a bite out of it.

Christian's more serious error was in not sitting Ana down and saying, okay, here's why I like to hit women and why the women I hit are totally into it. I think there's a good chance you'll be into it, too, if you can get past this whole I Don't Want to Be Hit That's Wrong hangup you have, but let's at least go over the emotional roller coaster that "a good hiding" is before we actually do it. Because then they could have put together an Aftercare plan that would have included What To Do if Ana Can't Stand Looking at/Being Near Christian afterwards.

BDSM commentators who get hung up on consent issues because Christian came charging over to the apartment after the email Ana sent post Spanking #1 are Idiots. He did _exactly_ what Ana was asking him to do, even tho Ana used a bunch of words with a different literal/surface meaning. If Christian hadn't returned, Ana really would have had to stop seeing him; it would have been an untenable relationship unless she matured enough herself to be able to say literally and in the moment exactly what she needed. But the whole freaking book is about how she has trouble doing that when he is there (trouble even eating), and is much better with honesty in email -- and boy, if that isn't a perfect description of what its like to be 20 something, well, my memory has clearly taken some damage.

There _ought_ to be a crowd of people out there going, whoa, Christian, you don't have an Aftercare plan for what to do post-belt and you didn't negotiate the number of strokes and blah blah bleeping blah, but I can't find them through all the speculation about who is going to be in the movie.

On a technical level, the editorial staff erred in leaving the word "pinafore" in the description of the dress Ana wore to the second interview. I _was_ convinced that they should have fixed all the "He's not called me yet" and similar to "He hasn't called me yet", however, I got email from my brother-in-law today with that style of contraction. *shrug* It sounds too British, or at least not Seattle to me. Christian's use of the verb "rumbled" (to mean, you've found me out) also sounds not American usage to me.

I feel bad that I said negative things about this book based on commentators who presented themselves as part of the BDSM community and as disapproving of this book. It's a good book. If all you knew about BDSM was what you learned reading this book, you'd be in pretty good shape (right down to Christian emphasizing to an oblivious Ana that certain toys were new). What are being called consent errors are NOT consent errors. They are relationship errors and they are both universal and strikingly typical of people in their 20s.

Really, if you want to snivel at something, snivel at Ana getting a job at a publisher in Seattle with an undergraduate English degree from WSUV. Or at someone like Kate going to WSUV. Or at a 27 year old billionaire whose line of business seems to involve, well, hard to say. Or ...

ETA: Oh, if hair pulling bothers you, stay away from these books. Christian likes to pull Ana's hair. Ana seems to be very, very okay with that -- it's not abusive and she doesn't seem to perceive it as bad pain. I freaking loathe hair pulling, and it was, for me, probably the most difficult to deal with aspect of the book.
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_The Sexual History of London_, Catharine Arnold

The introduction listed a bunch of books I've already read (altho to be fair, anyone who describes Walter's biography as "bleak" makes me somewhat nervous. Bleak? Did we read the same book? Walter had some fun times in that book. Walter had some issues. Walter had a lot of self-awareness about those issues. Didn't seem that bleak to me.). The tone is zippy and fun. But then ...

"According to the Roman poet Catullus, women hung garlands on the god's enormous penis to indicate how many lovers they had entertained the previous night. Quite often, the garlands of a single woman were sufficient to cover the penis from root to tip." The note is to Burford, _Bawds and Lodgings_ p 17, which I don't have a copy of so I can't speak to it. What I _can_ point to is this:


"Females as superstitious as they were lascivious might be seen offering in public to Priapus as many garlands as they had had lovers. These they would hang upon the enormous phallus of the idol, which was often hidden from sight behind the number suspended by one woman alone. Others presented to the god as many phalli, made of willow-wood, as the men whom they had vanquished in a single night."

You can see where the confusion might have entered in, but that's no excuse. The garlands covering the penis were a _lifetime sex number_, not a one-night number. The one-night number was the willow-wood phalli. In any event, that's from the introduction to Burton's translation of _The Priapeia_, not present in Catullus' text. Again, not having Burford, hard to know what he had to say about it and it hardly seems relevant because people have been finding errors in Burford for decades anyway.

I suppose it's possible there's something in one of the epigrams that I overlooked -- don't hesitate to point it out. It's also possible that the reference to Catullus means some work other than _The Priapeia_ -- again, don't hesitate to point it out. There are days that I feel like tracking the source of an assertion in a non-fiction book is like playing Telephone.
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Subtitled: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women

A collection of essays as described by the title and subtitled, edited by Candace Walsh and Laura Andre with an introduction by Lisa "Sexual Fluidity" Diamond.

I'm never quite sure what I should say about myself when reviewing a book like this. I am a woman married to a man, so the assumption is going to tend to be that I identify as heterosexual and the assumption is wrong. Just 'cause I'm monogamous doesn't mean I'm not still bi- and poly. You don't need to speculate about whether I'm reading this book because I'm Figuring Something Out because I figured all that out a long while ago.

The editors picked a diverse group of contributors: women of color, women in interracial relationships, women born in a variety of decades, in a variety of regions. Women who ultimately identify as lesbian. Women who insist on not being labeled. Women who identify as something they would probably call bisexual, only bisexual has such a bad rep in so many communities and such a lot of silly expectations associated with it that it was rejected out of hand. If I have a complaint about this book, it's that latter: all the women who reject the word bisexual, because they have ideas about what that word means that strike me as every bit as prejudiced and wrong-headed as the prejudices about being lesbian or whatever that they had to get over in order to have any personal integrity, find love, have hot sex, etc.

Good collection, good stories, kind of annoying to slog through all the anti-bi propaganda. _Profoundly_ annoying little epilog at the end by Baumgardner about how "Falling in love with a woman, as a woman, is deeply linked to feminist endeavors". I _hate_ ideas like that. They do a massive disservice to feminism and warp politics and personal connection in ways that damage both.

To be utterly clear, however, I don't think that Lisa Diamond or her idea of "sexual fluidity" should be blamed for the anti-bi propaganda. I was wondering about that, and will probably get her book to find out for sure, but my sense is that she's desperately trying to help women who are getting railroaded from the "you must be straight" camp to the "oh, okay, you must be lesbian" camp when in fact their identity either is genuinely changing at one or more points in their lives (not due to choice!) or their identity is a poor match for either (ditto). That does shine through, ultimately, making this a very worthwhile read. More nuance in coming out stories is a good thing.

A number of the stories involving younger women (born after 1970ish, say) with relatively straightforward lesbian sexual identity sound like classics from a bygone era: they didn't even let themselves know how they felt about women because they were part of a community (Mormon, Evangelical, etc.) which was going to toss them if they didn't put up a very convincing heterosexual front. Poly- is touched upon briefly in one of the younger women's stories, but is part of a community she participates in rather than something she adopts.

For all Baumgardner speculates that "I imagine you may have gotten it in order to support or understand a loved one who has a story similar ... Or, more likely, you are living a story similar to", there's a lot of enjoyment to be found in these stories by anyone who enjoys a good story. Try not to get too bogged down in the politics of it all. (On sale as an ebook for the kindle for .99.)
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LJ is going to make my whole journal adult content one of these days.

This is more secondary coverage of the recent, large sex survey that I still haven't tracked down a copy of yet. It's Slate, and it's by someone with a man's name, so this isn't too surprising:

"That's a lot of butt sex. And remember, this is what women are reporting. If anything, they're probably understating the truth.

So what's with all the buggery? Is it brutality? Coercion? A porn-inspired male fantasy at women's expense?"

Obviously, not a man who is reading romance novels with a lot of the sex lately. Or, for that matter, the SB tribe talking about same. But despite having a steep learning curve, this is someone who can read the data and understand it.

"So why did the inclusion of anal sex bump the orgasm figure up to 94 percent? It didn't. The causality runs the other way. Women who were getting what they wanted were more likely to indulge their partners' wishes. It wasn't the anal sex that caused the orgasms. It was the orgasms that caused the anal sex."

That is decent analysis. I am impressed.

ETA: Don't go assuming that just because I think Saletan did a nice analysis here implies that I think Saletan does a consistently good job of analyzing data. He does not.
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A friend e-mailed this, along with another link about this particularly odd candidates unusually [insert adjective here] views.

I'm mildly surprised Newsweek covered this, in this particular way. I'm _happy_ -- just surprised. Is this the result of the change in ownership and the general move away from paper to online for the magazine? Maybe I'll start reading it again.
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These are the folk who brought you the Topping and Bottoming books. I had not actually realized that until partway through this one. This was another Christmas present, but like _Get Up_, not for the simplest explanation.

In a number of ways, this book is _soooooo_ not really for me. Easton and Liszt have a tone aimed straight at the, er, straights. Given my personal history, I kept chuckling at all the paragraphs where they encourage the reader to take a few deep breaths, think about how they really love the person they are learning about, and try to understand why the reader is having such a negative reaction. Also, the bits where they go, it's not nearly as bad as what you are imagining. (Honestly, that was the point where I wanted to reach in and go, hey, I'm _still_ having trouble with the chainsaw scene demo, and _I wasn't even there_. I would _never_ have imagined a chainsaw scene on my own. Ever.)

It's a great introduction to kink/a sex-positive perspective. It has a good resources guide at the end. It's written by highly respectable people (er, for suitable definitions of the term respectable). It covers, uh, all the, um, bases. The structure and organization of the book (welcome, how ya feeling, okay what exactly is this all about, how are we going to talk about it) is a very gentle way to introduce and then walk through sex-positive subcultures. The inclusion throughout the book of I-wish-I-had-the-guts-to-deliver-this coming out letters is interesting.

They include a helpful glossary at the end, which I think is the only spot I learned something completely new (I didn't realize some people used water sports to mean enemas. I knew people did enemas for play; didn't know they used that term for it). I don't think there's a single thing in the book that I disagree with. I really enjoyed Chapter 9 (A Special Chapter for Helping Professionals), which says something, altho I'm not entirely certain what.

I'm stuck with a couple questions, however, which I'm sure I'll get around to asking the person who bought me this present. One involves whether or not the edgier end of edge play has moved significantly in the 10 years since this book was published; I get the impression it has, but perhaps Easton and Liszt figured their hypothetical reader is all aquiver and might need smelling salts already -- best not to get into the stuff that might really squick them. And the second question I think revolves around the question of what proportion of people who engage in kink are tourists or chippers. That is, this book is depicting kink as an identity, like sexual or gender identity, and so the idea that someone could take it or leave it isn't really a part of the story. I could easily believe that to be the case where it order to get it at all requires a massive commitment. As kink comes out of the closet, how much is that changing? If the kink-identified have any hope of LTRs with the non-kink-identified, it would help a lot if chipping/tourism/etc. turns out to be widely possible. Given how cultural everything else about being human is, I suspect that will be the case.

But, then, that's exactly what I _would_ think, when I'm feeling all optimistic about humanity.
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Subtitled a Bisexual Regency Romance. Anne Herendeen

That subtitle should prevent anyone from complaining about surprise about what they were getting into. Just in case they missed that subtitle, the opening scene is of a hungover Andrew waking up in bed next to Kit, whose name he has forgotten, and who he realizes he should never have brought home.

After my extensive post about _Coulters' Woman_ (yes, Coulter brothers sharing one woman), a friend sent me a pointer to a review she'd read of this book, thinking I might be interested.

Let me just say, Thank You. Both to the friend, and to the reviewer, and to the author, and to everyone else involved in this book existing. That was amazingly fun. The author did a certain amount of research, which was really cool, and then made some reasonable decisions about using that research (choosing to not limit herself to period slang terms for private parts, for example). The author appears to have read. A Lot. I mean, like, a whole lot. She managed to pack into this admittedly long novel nearly every possible Regency novel convention. We've got the low-class family from which virginal heroine springs, complete with dead military dad. City kids with gutteral English are welcomed into the household and taught to read. (Wait -- she missed one: no dogs! Dang! And the horses are only mentioned in passing.) Society folk who present themselves as respectable but who are sleeping around on each other. The trip to the modiste which is amazingly efficient. It includes the sophisticate helping the country girl. The slut overriding the chaste woman's taste. The new husband finding out and getting all up in an uproar. A bet at White's.

I could go on. There's even a younger brother with pockets to let because he keeps losing his allowance betting. But I'll just stop and say that every convention of regency romance makes an appearance here (except dogs. No dogs.).

Andrew (rich, will be a peer) decides to get married and reproduce, despite his definite preference for men. He elicits the help of the brotherhood of the title, which are other men who feel similarly. Not the best way to find a wife in some ways, but in others, quite reasonable. Phyllida, the bride, has published one gothic romance and has another in proof sheets. In the wake of her first sexual experiences with her new husband (his preference isn't _that_ definite), she does a little rewriting. A subplot involving a would-be spy and blackmailer introduces a substantial amount of Misunderstanding. Andrew is Dear John'ed by his three years in the military young man and meets a new beau, Matthew. Phyllida's younger sister arrives to have her Season. Phyllida gets knocked up. Antics ensue.

The triangle is a V. Unlike the star configuration of _Coulters' Woman_, Phyllida getting knocked up does not mean that no one gets laid. Very unlike _Coulters' Woman_ in that there is man-on-man action and no action involving all three at once in the titular relationship. (In fact, no three ways occur on page in the book, altho John Church does wander off with Monkton and Verney near the end.) Well, unless you count Phyllida watching Matthew and Andrew, and her lap-surfing at the wedding.

More typical romances often involve subplots in which other, established relationships are shown developing, and othe relationships develop. Similarly, the established three-way (a complete triangle, in every way, but not shown on page) between Lord and Lady Isham and Archbold; the new three-way (I think it's a three-way) between Kit, Nan and Philip. You'll notice a theme. Just as in typical romances everything is one-man/one-woman, in this atypical romance, it's all two-men/one woman, and the vertex is one of the men. Unless you count the Church/Verney/Monkton three-way, which looks like a one-night stand.

Regular readers of this page will not be surprised at my reaction to the post-pregnancy depiction of Phyllida. She chooses to nurse Sophia herself and when her sister-in-law gives her crap about it, she tosses it right back at her. And when George's portrait of her winds up being her wearing only the rubies, reclining, feeding Sophia. Heh. Gotta love that.

Given the content of this book, it's not nearly as graphic as _Coulters' Woman_. It really is mostly about the relationship developing. While there's a fair amount of sexual activity not involving the main players, that, too, is clearly in service of the plot.

RHI a regular publisher has picked this up and will be bringing it out this year. We'll see if that proves to be true.

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