The premise for this story is rather sad. Two lonely women in a tiny town, not another lesbian in sight. They’re both butch (Tess more than Sidney), attracted to very feminine women. Certainly not to each other. Yet they decide to give it a try. They’re both looking for companionship in the long run but first and foremost for sex. So that’s how it begins. They’re also both really sweet (though Tess hides it well) and interesting and unexpectedly grow on each other. It’s an unusual love story but it’s a love story all the same.
Desperate Times is one of these books that come to life in audio. I gave it three stars when I read it but the audiobook version gets four stars. The narration by Marie Smith brings a new dimension to the characters. Tess’s complexities come out in a much clearer way in the audiobook, I think. I had a hard time liking her when I first read Desperate Times but felt I understood her better when I heard her. Things were much easier with Sidney both times, she’s much more laidback and easier to get, if only because she’s not confronted to as many obstacles as Tess is and can therefore afford to see things in a simpler way.
If I had to summarize this story, or delineate its morale, I’d say it’s not only about not judging a book by its cover, it’s also about the unexpected treasures you can find when you go beyond appearances, however unwillingly. In the end, Tess and Sidney are perfect for each other, which they wouldn’t have guessed if they had not found themselves in what seemed to be an impossible situation. They were more or less forced together, for lack of anything (or anyone) better, but it might also have been fate. After all, how did Sidney come to live in such a tiny town when she could have moved anywhere? Fate, I say.