cover image A Shore Thing

A Shore Thing

Joanna Lowell. Berkley, $19 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-54972-8

Muriel Pendrake, a cis female botanist, and Kit Griffith, a trans male cyclist, battle Victorian sexism and their own feelings in this sparkling romance from Lowell (Artfully Yours). Muriel visits St. Ives, Cornwall, with her best friend, Dr. James Raleigh, to collect algae specimens for an upcoming lecture and hopefully commission an elusive painter whose work she saw at a friend’s house to illustrate them. After Kit nearly runs Muriel over on his bicycle, Muriel’s shocked to learn that he is the lapsed painter she’s been looking for. Kit has abandoned art since transitioning, but he’ll take the job if Muriel will first help him win an ill-conceived wager against a misogynistic rival who claims women can’t be cyclists. Muriel agrees—but Kit will need to teach her how to ride. As the pair bond, they also help each other to heal from past hurts: Muriel’s late husband was emotionally abusive and Kit’s best friend rejected him after he came out to her. Lowell confronts Victorian attitudes around sex, gender, and love head on, resulting in some darker moments, but the tender, supportive, and joyful dynamic that emerges between Kit and Muriel keeps things heartfelt and hopeful. It’s not just that their love story offsets the sadder moments; the sadder moments make their love story all the more beautiful. This is a triumph. Agent: Tara Gelsomino, One Track Literary. (June)