Lyn Gardner – Give Me A Reason

Give Me A Reason

Intelligent, confident and beautiful, Antoinette Vaughn had it all until one night she went to help a friend and paid for it… with a life sentence in hell. 

Four years later, Toni’s judgment is overturned, but the damage is already done. She walks away from the prison a free woman, but she’s hardly free. Actually, she’s hardly alive. A prison without rules can do that to a person.

She was raised amidst garden parties, stables and tennis courts, but now a dingy flat in a decrepit building is what Toni calls home. It’s cold, dark and barren just like her heart, but it suits her. She doesn’t want to leave much behind when she’s gone, but the simplicity of her sheltered existence begins to unravel when a beautiful stranger comes into her life.

How does anyone survive in a world that terrifies them? How do you learn to trust again when everyone is your enemy? How do you take your next breath and not wish it were your last? And if your past returned…what would you do?

If you’re an avid reader of books in the lesbian fiction genre, you’ll eventually cross paths with Give Me A Reason. It has the highest number of reviews on Amazon (currently 200), and its rated an average of 5 out of 5 stars. Give Me A Reason was released around the time when everyone and their mama were losing their minds over Orange Is the New Black, which probably contributed to the book’s huge popularity. Talk about being at the right place at the right time… but really, this is a great novel in its own right.

Reading this novel, I assumed the author was English or Scottish (she’s actually an American from Florida) and I don’t know if she’s ever spent any time in the pokey or if she watches a lot of prison shows and documentaries, but her writing is incredibly detailed on both accounts. She has quite an imagination, to say the least. What I like about this story is that it doesn’t lack in originality, and it really draws the reader into its world. My only gripe is that whenever I read the phrase “give me a reason” in the novel, it reminded me of listening to the Fugees’ cover of “Killing Me Softly” on Power 106 in 1996.  The song played on the radio 7x per hour, every hour, every day.  In other words, “give me a reason” got REALLY old REALLY fast. You can only bounce that ball so many times before it goes completely flat.

The main characters of this story, Toni and Laura, are both FIERY. They’re portrayed as strong women with strong personalities. The beauty in their friendship and eventual romantic relationship is that they allow each other to simply be the individuals that they are. Toni has her episodes, and Laura has her temper tantrums, but they manage through those experiences and move forward together. They don’t view each other as improvement projects, and love joins their lives together like puzzle pieces.

I spent six months stuck on this damn book. I couldn’t stop reading it because I enjoyed it so damn much. At the time, Give Me A Reason was the third lesbian fiction novel I finished reading so I didn’t have a collection of favorites in my re-reading rotation.

This is a great novel to read during the long winter season. I would recommend reading a few chapters a night before going to bed, and savoring and stretching it out as long as you can.

1. James Blake – Retrograde
2. Travis – Writing To Reach You
3. Amy Winehouse – Wake Up Alone
4. Depeche Mode – Somebody
5. David Grey – Please Forgive Me
6. Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
7. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
8. Adele – Make You Feel My Love
9. Ed Sheeran – Kiss Me
10. Sam Smith – Lay Me Down (Acoustic)
11. Nick Drake – Northern Sky
12. Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You

This book would be best read with an….

-1 oz of bourbon
-1 tablespoon of honey
-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
-6 oz of boiling water
-1 packet of Earl Grey tea (I would recommend Tetley)
-Orange wheel

Boil water and pour into a mug. Steep the tea. Mix the bourbon, honey, and fresh lemon juice with the tea. Float the orange wheel on top. Warm and cozy!


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