Book review: Blue Water Dreams, by Dena Hankins

Hankins Blue Water DreamsHankins, Dena. Blue Water Dreams. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 277p. PB. 978-1-62639-192-5.

In many ways this novel depicts a straight romance between a woman who is fiercely independent and a man who has a team of collaborators depending on his lead to finish a documentary film. Lania edits a literary magazine after her day job but dreams of sailing solo to faraway places. Oly is a trans man, comfortable in his gender and his body and surrounded by friends and female admirers. It is refreshing to read a love story where there is no jealous triangle, just people working out changes in their individual visions of their futures.

Lania and Oly’s sexual encounters are described in detail that goes on for several pages each time. The author uses the reality of what current medical treatment offers trans men to allow her characters to become quite inventive sexually. At the same time, they follow fairly traditional gender roles in their sexual expression. They are mostly free of hang-ups except for some anxiety about becoming vulnerable.

Blue Water Dreams falls well within the expectations of the romance genre, albeit with an atypical male lead. It may appeal to romance readers who are willing to try something a little different. It may also find a readership among trans men for the ways it affirms their sexuality and desirability.

Carolyn Caywood, Retired
Virginia Beach Public Library

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