Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton

Could you find the love of your life in a stranger on a ride on the metro (tube)?

Definitely, yes.

On an evening like any other, Anna was riding the tube/metro home after finishing her working hours, she has noticed her image in the glass door, she had no makeup, her slim figure and her blonde hair cut in a delightful bob was as elegant as ever, yet she looked as tired as she felt. Then she has noticed the frightened young beautiful woman who seemed scared and avoided anyone’s stare. A group of teens and another young man kept checking her out. The business man reading the paper, didn’t helped either. Anna recognized that fear as her own and she couldn’t ignore the young woman’s helplessness. She got closer and kindly asked her if she was alright and if she could help. The young woman didn’t look her in the eye and she just wanted to get out. Anna helped her out and realizing the young woman had no idea where she was, she offered her help further taking her to her favorite caffe, knowing it will be soon closing time and it would be quiet.

anna mayhew aka genevieve o'reilly

What really struck me, was that beyond the doubts to help a stranger, beyond her own fears, Anna was kind and careful to help the young woman , when none else had.  She even took her home and offered her shelter. She did all that out of kindness and care, but also because she suspected a stalker.

 Anna Mayhew  does’t feel like a savior, yet she certainly is one for Jessica Lambert.

Jess is a highly rated actress, mixed race and gay movie star, the superstar of the moment, as the leading role in the Atlassia trilogy movie, everyone was crazy about. Yet, she had no personal life, celebrity has given her so much, but has taken everything else away from her: her family, love, friendship. The demands of the role, the publicity around it, she needed to be in so many places in a short amount of time, got her to the edge of burnout. She had to get away. 

jessica lambert

So, she took the tube/metro not caring where it would take her, as far away as she possibly could go. 

Then she is rescued by the most beautiful woman she has ever seen. Her appearance is absolutely stunning, those beautiful blue eyes, her shining face, her full lips, her elegance, her honeyed voice that sooted, but most of all her kindness. 

And she didn’t seem to recognize Jessica Lambert.

All these made Jess trust her, lean onto her, a total stranger, who felt so close, so familiar to home. She seemed to understand her fear and took her to that nice cafe and then she even took her to her own home. 

For once, Jess wanted to be seen, cherished, befriended as who she really was, not as superstar Jessica Lambert. 

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Anna gave her all that, cherished her, seen her for who she truly was, befriended her as only Jess. 

I enjoyed the fact that we could read through their time together as strangers, as Jess stayed two nights with Anna and they got closer by knowing bits of each other as Anna and Jess, two complete strangers.

It was so real and beautiful how they fit together.

I loved how Jess struggled to find out about Anna’s sexuality and how Anna loved it, too, in her experience guessing Jess’s sexuality.

I adored Anna before the pancakes, but loved her more afterwards. I liked the tension built within their feelings and the raw sexuality that emerged between them and how they tried to hide it. It is magnificently written by Mrs. Ashton.

Anna Mayhew didn’t recognize Jessica Lambert, because of her recluse life, hiding from her past. Anna was in her late thirties and five years ago she was forced to say goodbye to her former life, to the profession that she loved. I adored her honeyed voice and how it matched her new profession. It was a great surprise.

Oh, and Anna Mayhew’s kisses are legendary. Lucky for Jess.

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Anna and Jess are both strong, yet vulnerable women with complicated lives. They do hide from each other parts of their lives, but they’re incomplete without them. They don’t rescue each other, but they find out who they really are through the other, together. They fit so great together, because they are the missing pieces of the other’s life in their own, without even knowing.

I liked how they had a short time together, then maybe one night only for love, but they couldn’t deny their attraction and overcame their fears through their chemistry and real emotions.

sexy interracial couple anna mayhew and jessica lambert by clare ashton

Jess wants so much to tell Anna about her celebrity, but she is afraid, Anna would behave like some other people, who just befriended her or liked her for her celebrity and wanted something as exchange from her side. Deep inside, she knows Anna won’t do that, but she fears loosing Anna’s elegant presence, her honeyed voice, her tenderness and her kindness and everything else radiating from Anna upon her. Jess is besotted.

Anna hides her past and she knows she must tell Jess as she also knows she is slowly falling for the younger woman. 

The turning point is when Anna finds out about Jess’s celebrity and she feels betrayed, I enjoyed the scene and it was quite original how Anna’s new profession mingled with Jess’s acting.

anna mayhew and jessica lambert clare ashton

The surprise of the story line is about to come, when Anna has the chance to turn the past around and also be close to Jess and somehow understand Jess and Jessica Lambert as one persona.

It was an absolute stunner turn of events.

Will Anna forgive Jess?

Will Jess forgive herself?

What happened in Anna’s past ?

Will Jess have a personal life beyond celebrity?

Will Anna take the chance on her past?

Will they get over everything and be happy?

interracial lesbian actreeses as anna an jessica lambert clare ashton orange is the new black

I loved that we could see both women’s perspectives of each other and of certain situations they were in. I absolutely loved we could read Anna’s side of the story, as it is so rare in age gap lesbian fiction, to see the older woman’s perspective.

Also, I liked the contradiction of their upbringing and families.

Jess’s family is a middle class family of mixed race, her Nan is a power woman, her Mum and Dad are great, they were all very supportive of her acting career and everything else. While, Anna’s family is an upper class Scottish family, who liked arts and didn’t care about genders, but disliked Anna’s profession and her bisexuality. Anna’s mother is the villain character of the story, as she opposes Anna in every way and their conflict is beyond resolution, as she wants to control Anna’s life, bring her home to Edinburgh , where she could also marry a man, Cameron, a wealthy acquaintance. 

I enjoyed the fact that the plot is based in the UK. Jess is of mixed race, her family living in the Middlands, in the southern Birmingham. Anna is living in London, but her origins are Scottish , her family living in Edinburgh.

The side characters  are great : Pen, Anna’s best friend, Bib, Pen’s daughter, Jess’s family, Trisha, Jess’s Nan, Jess’s Dad, her brother and Anna’s mother.

I loved Penny, Anna’s best friend and laughed out loud on each of their smart and funny discussions.

The storyline is absolutely original, involving an age gap lesbian romance, mixed race characters (proving love is universal, it doesn’t care of the genre or skin color or anything else but chemistry and real emotions),  celebrity reality (superstars don’t have a personal life and fame can give you everything and take everything else away from you), we get the older woman’s perspective and the younger woman is more famous than her lover. 

All those details were missing from age gap lesbian fiction literature.

The title “Finding Jessica Lambert” has many inflections:

1) Anna finding and saving Jess

2) Jess finding herself and wanting a personal life beyond the fame

3)Everyone else looking for Jess after she disappeared : her family, her manager, her agent

 

 finding jessica lambert by clare ashton

I was charmed by this beautiful book and I highly recommended as the best read of the year.

This is a review written by Nicky Sol.

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