cover image Infamous


Lex Croucher. Griffin, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-87565-5

Croucher (Reputation) infuses this energetic Regency era friends-to-lovers sapphic romance with zany wit, joie de vivre, and a distinctive literary bent. Edith “Eddie” Miller is distressed when Rose Li, her best friend, kissing practice partner, and primary audience for the stories she writes, backs out of their childhood pact never to marry and begins seeking the company of an older gentleman. Through Rose’s new connections Eddie meets charismatic poet Nash Nicholson, who shows an interest in Eddie’s writing. Eddie, Rose, and Rose’s beau, Albert, join an eccentric circle of artists at Nash’s rundown country estate for a retreat meant to inspire creativity. Amid the ensuing drinking, seances, and chaos, the women get the chance to be more explicit about their true feelings for each other—even as Nash’s behavior toward Eddie becomes increasingly dubious. The physical connection between Eddie and Rose is sweet and gentle, if not electric, and the fact that Eddie’s reaction to Nash’s passionate aggression is disillusionment rather than swooning gives the story a refreshingly contemporary feel despite the period setting. Bookish readers who wish that Alcott’s Little Women were a bit more explicitly queer will lap this up. (Mar.)