||Noble Romance Publishing
Bryl R. Tyne
Secrets ... charm ... and the truth could ruin your life.
Fifth grade English teacher, Kendra Wright, doesn’t believe in instant love. In fact, at twenty-nine, she’s all but given up hope of ever finding love, period. That is, until she meets the new principal, Valerian Riche.
He may be stunning, gentlemanly and honorable, but falling for the man is the last thing on Kendra's agenda. But when Val makes the first move, Kendra’s life as the youngest spinster to ever grace the pages of history is turned upside-down.
She’s longed to be treated like the lady she knows she is, but technically, is not. But if the truth comes out, it will destroy her career and end the wildest romantic ride she’s ever known.
Kendra must end the relationship before she’s in too deep. Before the truth is revealed. But, how does a lady say no to the charm-charged wiles of a man as determined, and eager, as Val Riche? While she anticipates the horror of breaking the news, he persists on making her decision as difficult as possible. Maybe Val should’ve checked Kendra’s package before he unchecked his heart.
Water rushing through the pipes in the wall at our backs broke the silence.
Dalia shifted her shoulder to the cool ceramic tile and began playing with my hair. "Can I ask a question?"
Now how the hell do I get out of this one? I tilted my head back and fixated on the ceiling as if its gray paint held the answer. Eventually, I'd have to let someone in on my secret, trust someone enough to reveal my true self. Dalia and I were as close as sisters. What the hell? I gave a mental shrug. If I was considering trusting a man again, I could afford Dalia that much courtesy, also. "Go ahead. You want my life story or what?"
"You're hair's real, not a wig . . . a-and pretty, by the way."
"The question, Dal."
She fidgeted with her rings. "You're makeup, it's never caked on. How do you do that? Do you use hair remover or shave? How do you get your legs to look so . . . so sexy? And, your voice, it's feminine too. A-Are . . . well, you're not . . . I mean, you're breasts look real, even though they're kind of smallish."
"Your one question turned into a lot of them." I glared. "Listen, I'm a woman, Dal. I go through the grooming regimen every morning, just like you. Electrolysis took care of the little bit of body and facial hair years ago, and yes . . . the boobs are real. Not big, maybe not as round, but more than a handful's a waste, right? Besides, push-up bras are like--the eighth wonder."
She snickered. "You're so natural and carefree about it. How'd you--I mean, when did you realize you were a girl?
"Dal! I've always been a woman. Look at me. You said yourself no one has a clue. Hormones can't change the shape of my face or my bone structure. They sure as hell didn't change my voice, either. Dal, do I look like I was ever male?"
Clutching my wrist, she lifted and examined an arm then fingered my chin and tilted my face upward. I briefly wondered if she worked dog shows on the weekends. She ended her exploration by running her hands along my sides and over my hips. "Damn. You feel one-hundred-percent woman to me."
Elisa Rolle, International Reviewer
This book probably wins the prize of most original book of 2009, and I don't believe that in the next nine months I will be able to find another book as original as this one. Maybe I'm wrong, and out there there are other transgender story like this one, but sincerely I have never stumbled upon them and so feel free to correct me.
Kendra is a woman; she is a beautiful woman, a woman her female colleagues at school "friendly" envy and his male colleagues desire; she also loves her work as fifth grade teacher and she is always gentle both with kids than adults. But Kendra is not exactly a woman: she is born with the body of a woman but with a penis, even if small it is always a penis and it works like that also. And so Kendra, who believes in true and forever love, has always thought that for her it's not possible to have it, and always lowered herself to be content with seedy and dreary relationships that clash with her persona and her work.
Then Valerian, Val, enter her life; the new principal of the school, from the first day he seems to fall over heels for Kendra. He is insistent but charming, he vows Kendra with flowers and music, and he treats her like the woman she felt. But Kendra couldn't believe that their story has a future, and always tries to dirty this true love making it only a question of sex.
I like the contrast between Kendra as a woman and her approach to love, and sex. Kendra is a woman in toto, the author is very good in describing her in front of a mirror while she is taking care of her, hair, make up and dresses. Not only that, the author spends time to describe her dresses, even her shoes, and all of this allow the reader to see Kendra as a woman. But, and this is strange, Kendra is also a "man", since what she has of a man, she can't ignore; it's a part of her that always remind her that she is not a "lady", that she is not allowed to have the forever love she wants. And so Kendra is a woman but also a man.
I like also Val, even if he has not the development of Kendra. He is the classic Prince Charming, and behaves like that; he is perfect and being perfect maybe he is a little less interesting than Kendra. But Val has a final turning that made me almost cheer up for him.
Finally my doubts: first I really didn't understand the final dark "turn", but maybe it allows to give a background to Kendra so the reader can understand why she is so eager to find true love; second I felt the second part of the story a bit rushed, like the author realized that she had only few pages still to complete and tried to packed all in them. I believe this would be even a better story with some pages more, but as it's, for me it is something you should try.
Fox, Rainbow Reviews
The romance between Kendra and Val is sweet and hot, but their road to happiness is complicated by Kendra's fears and her belief that no one could truly love her. The story is a classic romance tale of someone finding their perfect match, the person who can accept them and love them as they are.
The concept of this story is unusual, and one that perhaps needed more than a novella to do it justice. Given the length of the story, the plot was wrapped up neatly and carefully. However, many aspects of the story were hard to believe, from the way in which Kendra changed her identity to her confrontations with Stephan and with Val's family. A longer story may have allowed for more insight into those shaky areas, which almost certainly would have made for a more believable story overall. That said, the author tackled a difficult subject and managed to tell Kendra's story without turning the character into a joke or a martyr, which was very nice to see.
Also, the connection between Kendra and Val never felt overly contrived. Val's interest in Kendra was sudden, but it felt honest. Kendra's conflicted emotions were believable, and the resolution was sweet and optimistic. It was easy to envision the pair living happily ever after.
B.D. Whitney, Book Wenches Reviews
Fifth grade English teacher Kendra Wright has been sent on a mission: scope out the new school principal and report back to her girlfriends on whether he is as studly...and as single...as they have heard he is. Her friends are breathless in anticipation, but Kendra is not sure what all the fuss is about. She's pushing thirty, has given up on finding love, and is just about ready to settle down and declare herself a professional spinster. She almost dies of embarrassment when she trips on her heels and lands on her butt right in front of the man, but then she looks up into the dark eyes of Valerian Riche, and finds him to be gorgeous, charming, and every inch a gentleman. Everything she has ever hoped for.
Kendra honestly does not expect Val to be interested her, but given his obvious reaction to her, he certainly seems to be. In fact, he pursues her and asks her on a date. Very few men are attracted to women like her, because although Kendra is definitely a lady, she wasn't born with the right equipment. Were she to reveal to Val that she is not actually female in every sense of the word, their relationship would end immediately, and she so enjoys his company and the romance and the attention he lavishes on her. She knows it's not fair to lead him on, especially because he says he's falling in love with her. If only she were a real lady...she wouldn't be having these difficulties.
When I look for something new to read, I tend to search for something different. Something a little bit unusual, even. Let's admit it, there seem to be a finite number of plots that truly work well with romance, and reading the same thing over and over again can get just a little bit monotonous, regardless of how talented the author is. Since I was actively searching out the unusual, I certainly hit the jackpot with Bryl Tyne's If I Were a Lady. Perhaps I'm a little sheltered, but I have never before found a story that addressed the Transgender portion of GLBT. In If I Were a Lady, Ms. Tyne approaches this perhaps controversial subject in a manner that is matter-of-fact and even sometimes humorous. And while it was the subject matter that initially caught my attention, it was ultimately the characters and their central conflict that held it for the duration of the story.
Ms. Tyne has given us a cast of extremely complicated characters in this story, and she has developed them in such a way as to make them not only realistic but also downright lovable. Kendra is in a unique situation. There is no doubt at all that she is very much a woman, regardless of the fact that she is not technically female. As a reader, I identify with her as a woman, except for a few instances when she shows a surprising flash of a dominant territorial male side. This is just enough to keep the reader from getting too comfortable with the situation and to remind us that for all that Kendra appears to be female, it is the not-female aspect of her that is posing a problem here, because the character Val is most definitely a ladies' man.
Ms. Tyne treats both the story and her characters with an affectionate humor that is completely irresistible. It is this bit of humor that adds a touch of realism to the story and also keeps it from lapsing into melodrama. Yes, the central issue is both serious and emotional, but there is no need for it to be maudlin. My own penchant for humor is showing here, I know, but it is also because of this that I will be seeking out other works by Ms. Tyne, regardless of their subject matter. Well done, indeed.
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Reader Reviews for "If I Were a Lady..."
|Reviewed by Debbie Lacy
|Wow! Very interesting intro about this story as I had to read more in detail because the title of the book captured me but it's a very good story. Everyone needs love and is looking for that right significant other to spend time with or fall in love no matter who you are. It's interesting because here there is a beautiful woman who is really a man but blessed with the qualities, sensitivity, gentleness, features just that overall certain feminise of woman and how they find love. You've written a good one here Bryl! It's quite unique and thanks for sharing! :)