Lillian Porter is a Canadian whose range of interests is positively exhausting! She says, “I am a Canadian living in Ontario. I read mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and some sf&f for relaxation. I also read feminist theology, some biography, philosophy, history, and fiction. I am a semi-retired chaplain. My hobbies include writing reviews, fishing, canoeing, watercolor painting, art needlework, reading, and golfing.”


Title – The Monarchs Are Flying
Author – Pen Name Marion Foster
ISBN – 978-0932379337
Genre -Mystery
Rating – 4.00
Firebrand Books October 1987

Gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transexual folk have, in our society, always been on the margins. GLBT folk have been legally discriminated against in the workplace, in housing opportunities, religious institutions, the legal system, as well as dealing with homophobic people in other aspects of society. In Monarchs Are Flying , Marion Foster paints such a picture of homophobia in a small conservative northern Ontario town..

TV reporter Leslie Taylor is arrested for murder of her ex lover Marcie Denton, who, after their break up marries an abusive man whom she had been trying to leave. Harriet Croft, an older divorced lawyer, is called on the case by Marcie’s husband who want to be sure that Leslie is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But Harriet is attracted to Leslie’s courage and after Leslie fires her local lawyer, she agrees to represent her and prove her innocence.

I rated this book highly because Marion Foster in her writing gives the reader a very good sense of what it is like to live in a small community where homophobia is present. Perhaps what is even more important is her ability to demonstrate how internalized homophobia is destructive to the GLBT person. Leslie decides early in the novel to plead guilty even though she is innocent because of her own sense of guilt over who she is. The plot of the novel is standard and straightforward and moves along well. As a mystery the book is average. As a character study in growth and development, Foster’s insight is excellent.

Review: STAY — Mystery
By: Nicola Griffith
ISBN 0-385-50300-8
Number of Pages 303
2nd of 3 in series
Rating 5 out of 5

I am always worried about sequels. My experience has been that they are not as good as the original. Not so with this one. In fact it is better than the first book, The Blue Place, that I enjoyed.

Devastated by the death of her lover Julia, for which she blames herself, Aud Torvingin cocoons herself in a North Carolina mountain forest where she is painstakingly rebuilding an old log cabin. An old friend invades her cocoon to ask her to find his girlfriend. Aud reluctantly agrees, and goes to New York. She quickly finds the missing Tammy, and from that point on the book careens into high gear with Aud’s grief transformed into vengeance.

This book rates among the top five I have read this year. Nicola Griffith has written an excellent novel that is complex and multi-faceted. Her character Aud is exquisitely portrayed as a woman coming to terms with the violence, brutality, tenderness, and vulnerability that are central to her character. Griffith’s insight into the psychological aspects of grief and her ability to give the reader a stunning sense of place through strong images of the North Carolina hideaway and gritty city life, vividly reflect the inner tensions that fill Aud’s life. Griffith also enables the reader to feel encouraged to hope for emotional resurrection for Aud. The writing is good. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

(c) by Lillian Porter. May not be reproduced without permission.
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