|Source: Author Website|
A Proper Young Lady by Lianne Simon (Faie Miss Press, 2015, 227pp.)
This story tells the romantic tale of two childhood sweethearts, the tomboyish Melanie, and her graceful, intersex lover, Danièle. (Danièle looks feminine, but produces sperm, and has no uterus to bear children herself.) Separated as teenagers, the two are reunited five years later when Danièle, now engaged to the ambitious Ethan, looks for a woman to serve as the surrogate mother for their children. After Melanie agrees to the role of surrogate, she conceives twins using in vitro. Little does she or Ethan know, however, that the sperm sample used to fertilize her eggs is not Ethan’s, but Danièle’s! When Ethan realizes the truth, he demands that the children be put up for adoption. Now, the same societal rules that originally tore Danièle and Melanie apart—rules that say people should be either male or female—threaten to rise again and compromise their happiness.
In addition to telling a very simple romance story, A Proper Young Lady also serves as a protest against the societal expectation that people classify themselves on a strict male/female basis. While the premise itself is interesting enough to drive the novel forward to a sweet, uplifting conclusion, the writing was neither rich nor compelling, which proved to be a disappointment. Readers looking for stories outside the mainstream, however, may find themselves interested. Since A Proper Young Lady belongs to the New Adult genre (meaning readers who are college-aged and a little older), I recommend it for readers ages 18 and up.