Color of dust by Claire Rooney

“A woman shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak her mind, Lilly said.”

An amazing historical lesbian romance coming out from a Russian puppet…from our days’ time…I was amazed by it’s intensity and erotism, one of the best haunting stories I have read, lately.


The second oldest house in colonial America, Convington Place, West Virginia brings nowdays together  Carrie and Gillian, all together with deep buried family secrets and a love beyond time of Carrie’s grandmother Celia and her closest friend, in spite of her husband Robert who never understood so many aspects concerning his wife.


Carrie Jane Bowden  was living in Chicago, doing a desk  job, an average city girl, not having the hot looks, nor much money, her mother died when she was two and her father just some time ago, she never knew her grandmother, nor the family history as her mother run with her father at 18 and never returned to Convigton Place, so Carrie didn’t even wanted to open the letter she received from Mr. Dumfries. Thank God that she did and furthermore, she  went on to Virgina to see what this was all about.


Mr.Dumfries was a lawyer and he presented Carrie her heritage from her grandmother, Convincton Place, surrounded by many secrets and gossips and unveiled passions. Also, she met Gillian, Mr.Dumfries’s daughter who ran an antique shop in the small town and happened to know pretty much everything about the local history and gave Carrie the most amazing of smiles Carrie has ever  seen in years.


The moment of truth comes and Carrie is given the house keys and a small our by Mr.Dumfries and realizes that this isn’t a small house, yet a big colonial palace that her ancestors build on cotton trade and hard work of people, both black and white working at their mill. And there was not a soul in this house for over 25 years. Carrie started reading from day on the books in the magnificent library and didn’t understand why her grandmother lived her last years in the servants chambers.


She calls Gillian because she will need help to know more about Convington Place and offers in exchange the so much wanted tour of the house for Gillian as Mr. Dumfries told Carrie. Gillian comes and they walk around the house a bit and promises she’ll be back with some help and she actually brings over many people of all trades : cooks, plumbers, carpenters to help clean the house a bit and Carrie pretty much has the hots for Gillian, who’s always elegant and her grey eyes are purely sublime.


I enjoyed it when Carrie misunderstood Gillian as she says she’s not like her business partner, she ment open lesbian with short hair and everybody knows about it and none speaks too her including her parents, yet she says she wants to dress like a woman…later on she let’s Carrie understand she loves women.


They seem to be two worlds apart, Carrie doesn’t know anything about history nor elegant closes, she’s into casual and loves to read…I loved it when Gillian realized Carrie read most of the books in the library and knows their apparition year. I , also, found of a good taste the fact that the author made Gillian take the first steps and kisses Carrie in the attic and then how she wants Carrie to stay and take ownership of the house and indirectly, tells Carrie to ask her to stay the night, when Carrie speaks to her about those strange dreams she’s having about a red haired woman running in the woods, about hounds and howling horn men. Gillian believes that she’s sleepwalking, but Carrie keeps dreaming and sees things of the past in the mirror, like the library’s past furniture arrangements and that red hair beautiful woman again…those are the first signs. I loved the image of their lovemaking on the library floor, just like the love letter Gillian found in the first edition of  „Gone with the wind”.





Just then she discovers the cemetery in the yard and there’s one grave with flowers set somewhere aside, there’s a trunk with the same flowers and servant clothes in the attic and there’s this  golden locket with a red hair straw in it that someone never wanted to forget.



Claire Rooney did a wonderful job with Carrie slipping through the awake state to the possessed one, when she becomes Celia and is to be married to Robert, whom she does not love and argues with Lilly, who’s a far relative that her father brought in childhood to be her chamber maid. It’s amazing how Carrie know certain things without ever seen them,as well as people, as well as she knows her new father, Samuel, the servant, Meredith and of course, Lilly, her Lilly.  Carrie knows that Celia in in love with Lilly from some time now, Lilly had an amazing body, beautiful green eyes and red hair, the woman from Carrie’s dreams. When the engagement with Robert is announced, Celia can’t take it anymore and she kisses Lilly’s spine knobs and embraces her and wants her all over, yet Lilly doesn’t know what to do, they are in Lilly’s room and so the adventure begins, as their inflaming kisses lead to passionate caresses and a seducing lovemaking that their both have ever experienced and ever will. Carrie knows that Celia needs this love fulfilled as she will be obliged to marry Robert and will live a unhappy life, so as Celia she tells Lilly, begs Lilly to make this love last as long as they can. I loved it on how Lilly struggled to tell Celia that the Bible says is wrong, I loved it more when Celia preferred Lilly’s callused hands rather than Robert’s, then Lilly’s jealousy and eventually comes Roberts jealousy that wants Lilly out of the house and tells Celia’s father so.


The two women are unaware of the storm that awaits outside, while they’re making the love of their lives inside Lilly’s room, a shudder that shakes Celia’s soul. Lilly will have to live with her aunt in Richmond and Celia will marry Robert, that was her fathers words and commands. Lilly is prepared to leave, Celia comes to her for a final look, kiss, touch, lovemaking, they are careless and wild and get caught, her father implies that Lilly attacked Celia and was sent to prison, yet those words were for Robert and the society,a s he was aware that was lovemaking and nothing else, Celia escapes the mansion in Robert’s clothes, gets Lilly out of prison and they run away, yet everything she does, she did it all wrong, the man she hit to escape prison is death, she took his boots for Lilly, because she was bare-footed and all this led to Lilly’s second time in prison as they get caught in the woods by men with horns and track hounds (Carrie’s dream). Celia wasn’t able to get in time to save Lilly again and she was hanged in front of her eyes. It was a trembling hell of a feeling when I read those lines, so sad, so unfair, so lame.






Carrie comes back to herself when Gillian finds her in the woods surrounding Convington place, scared, sad and wounded. They live happily ever after after everyone knows Celia and Lilly’s story and Carrie made a beautiful grave stone for Lilly and wrote on Celia’s Bible’s last page :





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