Release Date: October 20th, 2021
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CW/TW: Homophobia, anxiety and panic attacks
Ideally, she would have rolled up to her tiny home town in a limousine and jumped out wearing a designer tuxedo. She would have shaken a few hands, signed a few autographs, and maybe kissed a few girls before riding off into the sunset of her glorious, post-grad future in set design.
Instead, she’s stuck spending the summer in her childhood bedroom, trawling the internet for job listings after a last minute internship cancellation in Europe.
It’s anything but triumphant. Her friends in the city won’t stop reminding her what she’s missing, her mom won’t stop researching lesbian slang terms to seem more ‘relatable,’ and around every corner in the small town of Chapel Creek, there’s Connie Shipley.
The girl Meg used to know better than anyone in the world.
The girl she spent countless nights huddled under the blankets with for sleepovers and movie marathons.
The girl who leaned in and kissed her four summers before.
The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since.
…Which makes it very inconvenient that Meg’s heart still stops every single time she sees her.
First thing, Katia Rose writes such beautiful stories. It’s not only the characters that captivate you, it’s the way she writes these stories. It feels personal and you also feel like you know these characters so deeply. And this soft sapphic romance was exactly what the doctor ordered for my slow week.
Meg and Connie were once the best of friends and even though they shared a kiss that altered the journey of their lives, their friendship never wavered. But when Connie’s parents insisted that she stay in their small town and work in the family business instead of going to Montreal for college, their friendship split apart. And the four years they stayed out of touch changed both their lives drastically. Meg is the only openly gay person in their small town of Chapel Creek and while her family is extremely supportive (and so so wonderful), the rest of the town doesn’t really react positively or negatively to who she is. Connie is the daughter of the richest man in town so obviously she’s got to behave a certain way, which means that she’s never had a chance to really understand and discover who she is as a person.
I can’t even begin to tell you just how incredible it was to meet and fall in love with Meg and Connie. The creation and development of these characters totally blew me away. Like I said before, you believe you know Meg and Connie, so their victories become a celebration for you as well. I smiled so hard through their scenes together, because that kind of pure, unadulterated love is exactly what we’re all looking for in our romances. Meg and Connie have years of history, their friendship has always been the strongest relationship they’ve ever had with anybody, so when they get a second chance to explore that, it is so wonderful.
The chemistry! Oof. It was explosive. Meg even says that about her sexual relationship with Connie at one point in the book. But these two have all this built up sexual tension and desire that’s at the edge before they take things to the next level. When they’re together, they can’t help themselves and they don’t even bother trying. Being able to touch, kiss and hold each other is a gift they’re not taking for granted. And the steam is delicious. There’s not too many steamy scenes, but what we get is *chefs kiss* To express their emotions and feelings, Katia writes some of her most poetic and lyrical stuff and it makes you feel like you’re floating on her words and drowning in their feelings. It’s that beautiful.
This Used to be Easier is a powerful story under all the cute and steamy scenes. It’s about accepting yourself and accepting others as they are. It features a young woman who is still coming to terms with her sexuality and her place in the world. Connie’s been oppressed by her parents in tiny ways – telling her to stay at home and work with them, forcing her to date the sons of business partners, refusing to acknowledge her sexuality and not taking her anxiety seriously. And through the course of the book we see Connie grow and become the woman that she wants to be and that’s so beautiful. It’s relatable for so many, because everywhere, people have been told that they can’t be or do what they want and Connie’s story shows that it’s possible, no matter how long it takes. The book tackles so many topics and I believe that Katia Rose did such a great job handling all these storylines and characters with care.
While a little longer than I would have liked and an ending that made me feel things, but not what I was expecting, I still enjoyed the heck out of this small town sapphic romance and I can’t wait for more people to read it and fall in love with Meg and Connie the way I did!
Thanks to Katia Rose for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.