High praise for Dorothy Rice Bennett’s tightly woven adventure/romance, The Little Red Barn: An Olympic Romance which is set in the stunning Pacific Northwest. You’ll fall in love with the gorgeous landscape and views. To this natural beauty the author brings Kate Brighton, Cornell educated and a larger than life wild and wealthy, world traveler.
Kate sails into the Strait of Juan de Fuca headed for Seattle, leaning into the wind like Cleopatra headed up the Nile on her barge. Kate and her sailing companion, the owner of the sloop that she met in Hawaii who was looking for a crew mate to help sail his vessel home, stop in Sequim, Washington first. It’s a small farming community between the foothills of the Olympic Mountains and the waters of the Strait just south of British Columbia, Canada.
To Kate’s pleasant surprise she realizes an old school mate from Cornell lives in Sequim. When she stops by to visit Marianne and her partner, Jake, the womyn tell her what a magnet the town is.
“Well, you are in for a treat. People come up here, take in the scenery, and become hooked. They either return later or just never leave. It’s become kind of a coastal mecca, especially for retirees, including lesbians.” And my favorite line of the book, “There are probably more lesbians here per capita than anywhere outside of New York City.”
Angie is one of those lesbians. She is the polar opposite of Kate. No adventure in her life, Angie is devoted to her children. Younger than Kate, she is a single mom living from pay check to pay check and a barista at The Little Red Barn where Kate finds her that first day looking for a cup of coffee after walking into town from the marina where they docked the sloop.
When Kate meets Angie she has been traveling around the world since her parents died years ago and she had given up her dream of becoming an Olympic swimmer. She wants what Angie has, stability and family. Being so different, their adventure is finding a life together with Angie’s two kids.
Angie has recently come to terms with her sexuality and is immediately drawn to Kate and later invites her to the pool at the apartment complex where she and the kids live. “Angie’s mouth (had) dropped open at the vision of Kate posed to dive, tall, broad shouldered, with small breasts under her tank suit, wind-blown blond curly hair.” Both Angie and her daughter see Esther Williams when they look at Kate.
But Kate is a product of a rich family; a lonely, only child who never did the dishes or cared for her own horse after riding. She has the money to change Angie’s and the kids’ lives but doesn’t see anything wrong with abandoning them at crucial times to pursue a dream of creating an Olympic Training Center in Sequim. Angie’s dream is to go to school to become a nurse. Kate buys them a new home and promises to help with the kids so Angie can pursue that dream.
Will Angie’s need for a responsible partner to share her load in life eliminate Kate? Can Kate change her spur of the moment wandering ways?
I’ll be honest, I’m one of those womyn who found her way back after visiting Sequim one autumn weekend. My love for this story comes not only from the well-constructed characters and how well the story flows; I’ve walked the same streets, mountain trail and sandy beaches as Kate and Angie. But you don’t have be from the Northwest to be drawn into this Olympic Romance. I highly recommend The Little Red Barn.
You can connect with the author on twitter @AlicelMcCracke1, or find her online at www.dorothyricebennett.com.