Is life after love even a possibility? Bea Lawson certainly isn’t convinced. It’s okay, though, because Bea isn’t interested in pursuing a permanent relationship with anyone. She’s convinced that her life with her dog, Dexter, and the friendships she has, especially with Kit, one of her employees, and Kit’s wife, Marta, is more than enough.

Allyn Teague runs her high-tech human resources referral business out of her home. She visits Bea’s business to pick up her mail. Bea has been accused of flirting with Allyn, but Bea has convinced herself she’s just being friendly. Allyn is married to Melody Rankin and is rather reclusive. Every time Bea has invited Allyn and her wife to join in some group activity with Bea and her friends, Allyn always says she’ll check with Melody, which Bea knows means “no.”

Then something happens. Allyn’s mail piles up in her Pak & Ship mailbox and Bea gets worried. When Allyn finally shows up, it’s clear something is wrong and Allyn’s excuse of “coming down with the flu” doesn’t ring true. In fact, it’s not true. Melody had blindsided Allyn with an announcement that she’s moving out and relocating to Arizona from their Washington home. Allyn is devastated to find that Melody had been living a lie for months—and didn’t bother to tell Allyn that she had fallen out of love with her and taken up with another woman.

As Allyn struggles to get beyond the pain and trauma of her wife’s betrayal, she vacillates between hoping Melody will come to her senses and return to her, and facing the trauma to get beyond it, mostly unsuccessfully. When Bea finally shows up at her doorstep, Allyn confesses Melody’s deceit, betrayal, and their impending divorce.

No one knows what the devastation and hurt of a love lost like Bea Lawson does, and she attempts to befriend Allyn, hoping to help her overcome her anguish. At first, Allyn rejects Bea’s overtures, convinced wallowing is the best thing for her as she continues to harbor that tiny pinpoint of hope that Melody will return so she can forgive her and they can get on with their lives together. However, it doesn’t take long for Allyn to realize that she likes Bea’s company, and she slowly opens up to allow Bea into her life—all the while proclaiming her hope of Melody’s return.

Allyn and Bea are characters with whom we can easily identify and sympathize. It’s clear that Bea is much further along in her grieving process and that Allyn has a much longer way to go in her own journey, but both women have some soul searching to do to discover what they each truly want at this point in their lives. If they don’t, they run the risk of ruining any chance at a future together.

Of course, some things are out of their control, most notably, the self-absorbed, manipulating, Melody Rankin. Sometimes, the only way to overcome the past is to open your eyes, see people as they are, and accept what really must be done to find love again. There are lessons that Allyn must learn in this tale, but Bea is not without need of some schooling, too.

This story is superbly paced, making for a smooth and engaging reading experience. The emotional ups and downs are clearly portrayed, yet they keep the story moving along. There are some unexpected twists and turns that may surprise, but the reader will always want Bea and Allyn to finally realize they are meant to be together in spite of past experiences.

MacGregor has given us a heart wrenching tale sprinkled with complexity that reflects life itself. She takes the reader on a ride in search of true love—and shows us the journey these two people must take in order to find it. It includes the process of letting go of the past in order to embrace the gifts the present has to offer. Life After Love is a study in what can be both right and wrong in relationships and gives insight into what’s truly important in life.

 [Editor’s note: KG MacGregor is on the board of the Lambda Literary Foundation]

Life After Love
By KG MacGregor
Bella Books
Paperback, 9781594934285, 232 pp.
October 2014



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