Finding your Feet, by Cass Lennox
Series: Toronto Connections, Book 2 (Stand-Alone)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though—he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.
Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.
Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.
Friends to Lovers
Past Emotional Abuse
Finding your Feet is the second book in the Toronto Connections series, which focuses on a section of the LGBTQA+ community in Toronto, Canada, and the second to feature an asexual romance, although one that is rather different from the first installment Blank Spaces. This time it’s about tumblr friendships, a Pride parade dance-off, lots of trips to Tim Hortons, unrepentant fluff, learning how to be happy, both with yourself and others, and an adorable toy Godzilla.
Lennox does a great job at ensuring what could be a very repetitive plot (dance rehearsal-social event-dance rehearsal-etc) remains engaging and fun to read, and I was surprised how well the spirit of the choreography came across without having to spend time describing every box step and ball change. The ensemble cast were interesting characters in their own right, although it did occasionally feel like we were in their story, not Tyler and Evie’s. I especially liked the portrayal of bubbly, enthusiastically demonstrative Sarah, helping to dispel myths about aromantic people being incapable of affection or love. Evie’s stated asexuality may prove to be divisive, as she comes across as more demisexual than ace, saying she ‘likes what she likes’ and under the right conditions is happy to have sex, but it’s also important to show just how wide the spectrum of asexuality is, and no one character can embody just how different our desires – or lack thereof – and needs can be. I can’t speak to how authentic trans representation is in the novel, but I was pleased Tyler is never deadnamed and has a loving, if distant, family to support him.
There were some minor issues that kept distracting me from thoroughly enjoying the story, like the fact we’re told Evie is a very clever engineer but she never demonstrates her practical knowledge or even hints at what she knows – I certainly would have appreciated at least one moment in which she shares her enthusiasm for her field, because I’m a sucker for scientists in romance. I’m unsure if it’s just me being overly sensitive, but I felt uncomfortable with ‘twinks’ ‘queens’ and ‘queening’ appearing frequently, especially to describe the flamboyant cis gay dancer Gigi, as well as a few other instances of unpleasantly stereotypical language. There were also a lot of repeated words that stuck out while reading, but that may be resolved in the final copy. I was a bit frustrated the main conflict centred around a minor miscommunication that could easily have been avoided, and would have preferred if instead Tyler’s emotional trauma from his previous relationship was given more weight as the wedge that could keep them apart.
While I was disappointed that the hints at femdom didn’t actually go anywhere (and yes, it’s absolutely possible to be ace and kinky), the chemistry between Evie and Tyler was tangible and made for a charming infatuation turned romance. Finding Your Feet is a sweetly entertaining story and I hope we see more of these two, along with Vaughn and Jonah, throughout the series.
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
Connect with Cass:
- Blog: casslennox.wordpress.com/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Cass-Lennox-1704635609768647/
- Twitter: twitter.com/CassLennox
You can purchase Finding Your Feet from:
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.