London Undone – Nan Higgins

London Undone is not as light as the blurb would have you think. It’s actually really sad before it gets really heartwarming and full of love and hope.

London wasn’t prepared for her girlfriend of six years to propose to her in the most public way. She wasn’t prepared for her to propose at all, seeing as London thought she’d made it very clear marriage wasn’t for her. So she didn’t say yes, and her girlfriend left, needing some space to get over the humiliation (doing private stuff in public will do that to you) and rethink her dreams.

As a journalist in an LGBTQ* media, I used to write small pieces about public proposals all the time. Our readers loved them, they’re good visibility, and we need all the love we can get. Still, as an introvert, I couldn’t help but cringe at how public (by nature) it all was.

As if the whole girlfriend disaster wasn’t enough, London gets a phone call from her twin sister telling her their mother has died. As much as she feels she’s fresh out of grief following almost two decades of being estranged from a family who couldn’t deal with her being gay, London takes the trip back home, the funeral and the very weird conditions of her mother’s will rather hard. Then sometimes even worse happens. I’m not sure anything worse could happen, to be honest (TW: hate crime, transphobia).

The author seems to have crammed quite a lot of things in just one story, and while it works, I at first wondered whether I really wanted to keep reading if everything happening was so awful. But it was well-written, and I kept going, and I’m glad I did, it was really worth holding on. While it might not be a romance strictly speaking, there’s a lot of love, in very diverse forms, and that love, in beautiful ways, more than balances the hate the characters encounter.

London Undone is a debut novel, and, despite some first book flaws, it’s a very good one. I’ve read on the author’s social media that her second book, The Mortician’s Daughter, will be out next April, and I’m already looking forward to it.

4-stars

London Undone @ Bold Strokes Books

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