Just Wide Enough for Two | Critical Book Review
Just Wide Enough for Two by Kacey M. Martin ventures into the life of Emily Dickinson, reimagining it as a heartfelt ode to profound sapphic love in an era where such romances were a rarity. Andrea Marks-Joseph delves into the intricacies of this indie historical novel, exploring the multifaceted layers of love and societal expectations.
Unraveling a Passionate Connection
The novel unfolds as a love story between childhood friends Emily Dickinson and Susan Gilbert, transcending years marked by complex changes. Martin skillfully navigates through the duo’s passionate connection, making it accessible even for readers unfamiliar with Dickinson’s life or poetry.
Defying Conventions: Emily’s Wild Spirit
Emily Dickinson emerges as a wild and unconventional character, challenging societal norms and stereotypes. The narrative portrays her as more comfortable in the outdoors, defying traditional expectations of a “ladylike” demeanor. Martin beautifully captures the support of Emily’s family as they encourage her unconventional pursuits, hoping for a future of her own choosing.
The Realism of Susan’s Struggles
In contrast, Susan Gilbert embodies compliance and realism, acknowledging the societal expectations placed on her femininity. Her internal conflict, torn between love for Emily and the pressures of a predictable future, adds depth to the narrative. The manipulative elements in Susan’s life, including working off gambling debts and enduring a life of obligations, create a poignant backdrop for their sapphic love.
A Sapphic Love Woven into Nature
Martin’s prose weaves a vivid tapestry of landscapes and emotions, capturing the essence of sapphic love. The author depicts their connection as organic and instinctive, with poetic descriptions that evoke butterflies fluttering within Emily’s chest. The secret-coded letters and stolen moments contribute to the tender portrayal of their relationship.
Inclusive Exploration of Social Themes
Beyond the central love story, Just Wide Enough for Two adeptly explores themes such as the abolishment of slavery, offering a nuanced perspective that includes readers of color. The male characters, despite embodying the societal norms of the era, are portrayed from an inclusive, feminist viewpoint, adding depth to the narrative.
Rom-Com Elements in a Historical Setting
The novel exudes a classic romantic comedy feel, with grand gestures of love set against a charming historical backdrop. The sense of longing and suspense permeates the narrative, leaving readers curious about how the protagonists will achieve their happily ever after.
Queer Love as Timeless and Genuine
Just Wide Enough for Two serves as a reminder of the timeless existence of queer love, depicted through the authentic and captivating romance of Emily and Susan. Martin’s writing skillfully avoids common tropes, presenting a narrative free of homophobia or queer shaming.
A Pleasure to Read
The novel captivates readers with its steady beats of sapphic tension, offering a delightful and sincere exploration of love. Despite the hopeful and honey-sweet overall mood, Martin addresses sensitive content notes, ensuring readers are aware of potential triggers.
Trustworthy Author for Queer Readers
Kacey M. Martin emerges as an author who can be trusted with the hearts of queer readers. Just Wide Enough for Two is a compelling read that not only entertains but also validates the authenticity of queer love.
Conclusion: A Timeless Romance
Just Wide Enough for Two is a pleasurable journey that resonates with lovers of historical fiction, Dickinson enthusiasts, and fans of timeless romances. While particularly suited for queer readers, the novel’s universal themes of love and societal challenges make it a worthwhile read for anyone seeking the magic of a once-in-a-lifetime romance.
Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN
|Historical Fiction / LGBTQ
Just Wide Enough for Two by Kacey M. Martin ventures into the life of Emily Dickinson, reimagining it as a heartfelt ode to profound sapphic love in an era where such romances were a rarity. Andrea Marks-Joseph delves into the intricacies of this indie historical novel, exploring the multifaceted layers of love and societal expectations.…