North Coast

By Dorothy Rice Bennett

Given their age differences, Val certainly didn't expect to fall for Gina!

Valerie, an aspiring artist, has fled San Francisco following the death of her longtime partner and begun a new life in Eureka, a remote community on California’s scenic North Coast. Val advertises for a roomer and opens the front door to a tall, blue-eyed young woman with more mental baggage than personal belongings.

Locked in their landlord-tenant relationship, Valerie finds Gina an intriguing mystery, and the reclusive tenant attempts to remain so. Why Val wonders, as do her lesbian friends, would highly educated Gina work as a part-time waitress rather than teach college? And is she a lesbian?

Eventually, Gina reveals an emotional crisis over her sexuality that has left her with a large debt. She longs to live in San Francisco, which for an Illinois farm girl seems the pinnacle of sophistication, and where she wants to teach and create a future.

Living together with a dog named Sam pulls Valerie and Gina into tentative intimacies which each fights to ignore. Valerie is stable and envisions only a dedicated relationship with another mature adult. Gina, still sorting herself out, thinks that writing and teaching are her top priority. Physically attracted, they grow on each other, but their minds continually fight off the spark. And, since their ages and life goals are so different, their friends also warn them off.

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