She’s My Dad by Iolanthe Woulff ISDN 978-1-4327-4377-2

Woulff has written nothing short of the most amazing GLBT novel this reviewer has read. With the back cover summary starting with the quote “Hate destroys everything. Don’t let it destroy you…” she fills the reader’s imagination with true-to-life people coming to grips with modern day realities.

Nick Farrington was a typical college student at Windfield college in Virginia. He sowed wild oats, partied and learned. By the way, Nick’s eyes are different colors, one blue and one brown. In an accident of oversight, Luanne becomes pregnant with Nick’s child. Nick has graduated and gone to parts unknown without learning of this. Luanne cannot bear to lose the only memory of their time together so she brings the child into the world and lets her husband, Jay-bo Skinner, believe that Collie was his own.

Time flies and the story starts again 26 years later. Collie has grown into a strapping young man struggling to make ends meet for his family. His father, Jay-Bo, is a washed up Virginia Highway Patrolman, squeaking by on Luanne’s and Collie’s incomes. Also, Collie’s eyes are different colors giving him a feature that stands out to anyone meeting him.

Part One – is aptly titled “The Hating” where Woulff leads the reader into a tangled web of mystery and secrets. Part Two is “The Redemption.” The juxtaposition of Hate and Redemption is ironic and very revealing of Woulff’s outlook.

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Multiple threads are woven expertly into an intricate thriller plot. There are Collie and his family. Nick Farrigton has transitioned into the transgendered Nickie Farrell, and is now a first year professor at Windfield. Windfield is a very liberal and open institution and Nickie fits in very well. However, the local community views Windfield and its inhabitants as licentious and decadent.

Add to this cast of characters a cantankerous Congressman trying to restore his part of Virginia to a pristine state, pre Windfield College, and a secretive bar owner who’s been known to do some unsavory things in the past. Jay-bo is an ardent homophobe and bigoted southerner that finds out his other son is having a Neo-Greek (read homosexual) relationship with an anti-gay terrorist.. The secondary characters fill in the details with life, tension, and passion.

Woulff displays her writing craft throughout the book. The plot is flawless and intriguing. The characters are engaging and very real. The social issues addressed range from homophobia to lesbian bias and right through to transgendered prejudice. In conjunction with exploring GLBT themes, this is a true thriller.  This reviewer would recommend this book to everyone who lives in contemporary American society. This is point-on about issues being dealt with on a national level but, also, on a local level as well with a passionate intensity.

5 Stars

Published by Outskirts Press, Inc., Denver, CO  ( SRP $19.95/Amazon $17.97) Reviewer received the book from the author.