Kate Christie Brings Lesbian Love to Romance Genre

by Kate Morgan West

OUTview Online

Sunday April 24, 2011

Recently, I discovered a local gem. Her name is Kate Christie and she's a Seattle lesbian fiction writer with two novels under her belt. A third is set to be released later this year. Originally from Michigan, Christie went to college at Smith and now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her partner and their child. According to Christie, Seattle is "where I learned to love winter rain, cloudless summers, and dirt soccer fields."

Her debut novel, Solstice (Bella Books), takes place in . . . Seattle! And, like the author, the two main characters are from the Midwest. Sam Delaney has relocated from Chicago to Seattle after her brother's untimely death. Like many people who have experienced such a life-changing event, she is left reeling and her way of dealing with it is to start over somewhere else where there aren't reminders of her brother and family. Her life is very ordered, some might say boring, until she re-connects with her old high school soccer teammate Emily Mackenzie. Emily has just finished her last year playing soccer for the University of Washington and has the summer to spend hanging out with friends before she starts a job as an assistant soccer coach at her alma mater in the fall. We get to go on the ride as their re-kindled friendship brings up both uncomfortable old memories of home and her family for Sam and new feelings she must come to terms with that could be life-changing. The story is told in first person narrative by each of the characters in turn, flipping back and forth between the thoughts, feelings and perspective of each protagonist. I enjoyed this view into the brains of Sam and Emily, and I found it entertaining and interesting to get the take each of the characters had on the same situations. And, I have to admit I loved reading about the streets, neighborhoods, zoo and even our local WNBA team here in Seattle. Christie did an excellent job on the details and this first effort was an enjoyable read.

Her second novel, Leaving L.A., takes place over the course of a summer in both L.A. and Hawaii. Tess Flanagan is a retired actress who has decided to redirect her life towards philanthropy and motherhood. Eleanor Chapin, a kindergarten teacher from the east coast, makes an impression on both Tess's daughter Laya and Tess herself. When Tess's beloved gardener and nanny decide to return to the Philippines, Tess is left scrambling to find a replacement nanny for Laya and it just so happens that Eleanor is available for the summer before starting grad school in the fall. As in her previous novel where one of the protagonists has suffered a tragedy and run away, so in this novel Eleanor is escaping her mother's drawn-out battle with and death from cancer. Tess has secrets she has been managing to keep since her childhood, having run away years earlier from Chicago to L.A. for a new beginning herself. Both women have something in common-they're both looking for a family and a home. This novel moved me and I felt much more connected to the characters than the ones in Solstice. Maybe it's because the characters are a little older or because I could relate to some of the Tess's and Eleanor's experiences a little more. But, regardless, I actually teared up when finding out Tess's childhood secrets.

Both of her books can be purchased through Bella Books, Amazon.com or through your local bookstore. After reading these two novels, I'm really looking forward to Christie's third called Beautiful Game, due out in July 2011.

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