Before I ever acknowledged the truth of my feelings or even understand what I was really sensing, the first image that went through my mind and my heart, whenever I thought of two women in love, was the love between a poetess and a sculptress. I really can’t explain why, it was just my innocent instinct.
„Untouchable” by Brenda Adcock landed in my hands „innocently”, because I had no idea of the subject it speaks about, yet after I read a small synopsis I thought it was a good idea to read it. I wasn’t fascinated, I was just interested, as the love between an English literature professor and an art student soon to become a sculptress, was excited and I expected a sweet romance, but „Untouchable” is both a poem and a sculpture. I loved every bit of it and I felt a part of it, not just a reader, and that’s exactly how a good book should make a reader feel like.
The story starts with Ramie Sunderlund, an art student, soon to become a sculptress, who needs more credits to complete her semester and one of her professors lead her to take the English Literature course. Her student roommates and other colleagues scare her off that the English Literature professor, Dr. Rothenberg is a scarecrow and that she will never pass the exam. Ramie needs these credits and she wants to go through this semester and end her sculpture portofolio.
Ramie goes on a weekend escapade with her roommate Leslie and other students and she gets lost and on a deserted cabin in the mountains she happens to see two adult women embracing and kissing and she never stops dreaming of them, nor of scary professor Rothenberg, until the first class with professor Emma Rothenberg, when she realizes she is one of the women she saw kissing back there next to the mountain cabin’s edge.
She felt closer to the professor and she slowly acknowledges her love for women and her attraction to Emma, professor Rothenberg, from the moment she first saw the tall woman with tanned skin and soft, short, cinnamon windblown hair and wire-rimmed glasses, and especially when Emma asked to see the sculptress’s hands, that reminded her of her first lover, Frances, yet Ramie didn’t know that. And Ramie soon finds herself head over heels in love wiht the professor that never looses her rope upon her courses, yet she has a love affair with the dean’s wife. Ramie is in love with dr. Emma Rothenberg, the English literature professor, with Emma the tennis player and with Emma, the woman twice her age, that has a lesbian love affair with her boss’s wife, Millie Carver.
Dr. Emma Rothenberg is a well known scholar at the University for she’s been an English Literature professor for so many years back now. She won’t risk her career for nobody’s love, she is satisfied of having an affair with the dean’s wife, whom will never leave her husband for her, yet somewhere in the corner of her eye is Frances, the very first woman she has ever loved and the one who she has never fought for, for Frances has always wanted a family, a child, that Emma could never offer her. This art student, Ramie Sunderlund, reminded her so much of Fran, with her free spirit and her clay calloused hands that she had to touch and know who they felt like for only one moment.
I loved how Brenda Adcock entwined the two women’s feelings and lives and how everything is a big surprise. I expect Ramie and Emma to fall in love and start a love affair from the moment they are attracted to each other, yet they don’t and that’s even more exciting.
Ramie wants to finish her portofolio and her piece of resistance will be „Untouchable” her secret sculpture of Emma who she was so much attracted to , yet she could never know. One evening Ramie works late at her sculpture, but Emma’s assistant, who’s advances Ramie refused as she didn’t want to pass Emma’s class like that, wanted revenge for being refused and he cowardly attacked Ramie and hurt her hands and her being as well as he destroyed her sculptures.
Ramie had to give up her year and the years to come, yet Emma was by her side at the hospital, until her parents came from Virginia. Emma encouraged Ramie that she would sculpt again and Ramie believed her and she went back home and recovered after her injuries.
I think Emma should have known her assistant was capable of such a bad deed, for she saw an altercation between Ramie and her assistant before and she should search for Ramie earlier, yet maybe that’s the way the author wanted the story to flow.
Ten years after, Ramie is offered a guest lecturer job by Sylvie from the Art University. Ramie is a fine sculptress now and she has also well recovered from her injuries, yet she has never forgotten about Emma Rothenberg, and this was her chance to check her inner feelings and if they have changed about Emma. She has also finished her recovery work sculpture „Untouchable” which was a remake from her former sculpture that was destroyed by Emma’s assistant. And so, Ramie and Emma see each other again, unexpectedly. I loved how Ramie sees her and at the art exhibition asks Emma if she likes her sculpture „Untouchable” without knowing it was herself. Their attraction has not vanished in a decade and I find this amazing, a beautiful idea to make the novel more interesting.
I also, loved Emma and Ramie’s first kiss, in Emma’s home bedroom at the party Emma is hosting and how Emma gives up to her attraction to Ramie and how Ramie wants Emma. And Emma is tormented by their age difference and her reputation at the University and how she feels guilty about Ramie’s attack by her assistant and how she could do more. Emma is still amazed by the fact that Ramie, even more attractive after a decade, with her blonde curls, blue eyes and slender body seems to be interested in her and how attractive Ramie is. I enjoyed so much the first night they sleep together, their second kiss, so passionate and wild and how Emma forgets about Millie Carver and how much she wants and needs Ramie in her life.
Easily, their lives fit into one another and the love that blossoms between them cannot be scatter by Sylvie, Millie nor Emma’s assistant who wants to ruin Emma and Ramie’s new found paradise. Their lovemaking, their closeness and their relating to each other is what attracts to this novel.
The turning point is the moment when Emma meets Frances again, when Fran’s husband becomes a professor at Emma’s University. Yet, by then, Emma knows whom she wants, mainly the blonde curled beauty with azure deep blue eyes and a huge sculpture talent that is Ramie.
I loved how Emma’s sculpture plays such a memorable role in their lives.
I loved how the two characters have been built, especially Ramie and parts of Emma, as I said before, in the first part the perfect Emma should have cared more for Ramie and after she saw the issue with her assistant she should have payed more attention and more care to Ramie and even try to see her back home, in Virginia, after she was injured and during her ten years recovery.
Still, „Untouchable” by Brenda Adcock, remains one of the best lesbian romances I have ever read.