‘Loving Liz’ by Bobbi Marolt

Loving Liz (Bold Strokes Books) is Bobbi Marolt’s third novel, and she introduces Marty Jamison, the renowned Broadway actor, and Liz Chandler, straight author of lesbian romance. Unbeknownst to either of them, they’ve been fans of one another for 20 years. They’ve never met, until a chance meeting in a bagel shop in New York City brings them together.

Liz contends that she’s straight right up until the time Marty kisses her. After that, the two women dance around one another, flirting and trying to figure the other one out. Marty has a new show to prepare for and has misgivings about the script. When she asks Liz to look at the script to see if she thinks it can be salvaged, Liz readily agrees to do. She is given free rein to rewrite the entire script.

Unfortunately, Marolt has too many coincidences, like the meeting in the bagel shop, to have the story be believable. She also lectures the reader about subjects that interests her, slowing her story to a crawl. For instance, she brings the story of the two women to a grinding halt to give the reader the history of a fictitious theater. That lecture doesn’t move the story forward and will take any reader out of the book in an instant, and may even cause the reader to set the book aside.

Marolt had a really good premise for this book although she wasn’t able to follow it through and  make it come alive. The characters are cardboard and lack personality. She tells us about their personalities, how they feel, and what they think, but doesn’t allow the characters to show us. She seems to have forgotten the first rule of writing: show, don’t tell.

Finally, the reader needs a large dose of suspension of belief to think that Liz could go from writing formulaic lesbian romances to writing a Broadway play with no intervening forces involved.

A strong editor could have fixed a lot of what is wrong with this book, including annoying repetitions.

With all that’s wrong with this book, the last third of the story is the best the book has to offer. There’s conflict, intervention, resolution and, finally, feeling for the characters. It’s too bad that the first two-thirds of the book weren’t written as well as the last third.

Loving Liz
by Bobbi Marolt
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602822108, 240 pp.
March 2011