This is my body by Elena Graf

What could an agnostic philosophy professor and an Episcopal priest have in common? Love. And so much more.

I loved the fact that that  “This is my body” by Elena Graf   involves the romance between Lucy (former opera singer and Episcopal priest) and Erika (philosophy professor), two women after 50 with vast life experience, different visions of life, love and marriage and made many choices and sacrifices in their lives and have different opinions on religion and life itself. They have been through so much and they need to be patient to understand each other and patiently let love bloom.

The book is a love letter to love itself, as the impossible becomes possible and real.

There should be more books like this in the lesbian fiction.

The plot is unique, unlike like any other I have ever read.

It is the second book in the Hobbs series.

The location the plot is set is Hobbs, Maine on the US West Coast, near the Canadian border, with amazing sea sights and harsh winters.

Lucy and Erika are first introduced in the “The more the merrier” and readers wanted them to give their love story a chance in a separate book.This is it!

I also enjoyed the fact that Liz Stolz and her wife Maggie play a very important role in this second Hobbs series novel.

“This is my body” by Elena Graf is like the story of two souls awaking at sunset in a tender romance. The colors are sweeter, the ocean is calm and patience is a virtue for their love.

This story is a tribute to redemption, self discovery, a story to accept one’s faith and to make peace with the past.

I loved the contrast that the character of Lucy provides, a caring, compassionate and hard working minister, very attached to the community, who is also a very sensual, later sexual and loving person.

The title “This is my body” symbolizes the words of Jesus at the Last Supper when he broke the bread and offered it to the apostles (symbolizing humanity), saying : “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this is remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). He explained his future sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of humanity.

The title is a reference to Lucy’s two sacrifices, the one from the past and the one from the present, when she helped Erika overcome the sadness caused by her mother’s death.

Erika Bultmann is a professor of philosophy at Colby College,. She has decided to take a sabbatical to write a book she long wanted to write and enjoy her summer cottage in Hobbs, close to her best friend, Dr. Liz Stolz. 

Erika has a huge crush on Lucille Bartlett, former opera singer and the new rector of St. Margaret’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, whom she met at Christmas (read The More The Merrier to know more about that). 

She would like so much to get to know her better, and Lucy seems interested, too. The two women become good friends, and the attraction between them keeps growing, but Lucy wants to take things slow. 

To Lucy, making love is a sacred act. Lust is not enough, she needs to be in love and she needs to know the future they envision suits them both. Their views on life and love and marriage differ on many levels and while their love for each other is indisputable, they need to talk, but life keeps getting in the way.

Erika’s mother dies and Lucy will sing for her wake and this deepens their friendship, but also puts on hold their romance. 

Erika is similar to Liz in some ways, not only for their German heritage, but most notably  for their superior intelligence, dry wit and their no-nonsense take-charge disposition. I loved the Nietzsche banter!

Erika is very straightforward, she is stubborn and despite what she seems to believe, she’s vulnerable and a hopeless romantic. Yet, she can’t figure out Lucy. She can’t reconcile the priest and the sexual being Lucy is.

 She also has a lovely relationship with her elderly father. Family relationships and what makes a family is one of the main themes of this novel, along with religion vs. philosophy and the complexity of respecting others beliefs without compromising one’s own.

It was interesting learning the minds of Germans, philosophers, and mathematicians. They are a wonderful, brilliant group of humanity that have so much to teach us.

Lucille Bartlett is a former opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and left it to become the new rector of St. Margaret’s by the Sea Episcopal Church.

That is a huge contrast. And further in the storyline we learn that Lucy has a secret, that might ruin everything she has built in Hobbs: her relationship with Erika and their friends, her relationship with her congregation, her job, if it comes to light.

Still, Lucy has a tender, generous way to help people in their daily struggles and wants to to anything that is in her power to show the love of God to her congregation every day.

I loved Lucy’s walks on the beach at dawn and sometimes at sunset and her morning areas and how she has never stopped singing.

She seems to have found her peace, she reconciled with her past and through her faith to help others. Now she needs to figure out Erika and a way for them to fit together, as their attraction and chemistry are undeniable.

The salt marsh at the Brave Boat Harbor Headwaters preserve in Kittery, Maine.

I loved how open to sexuality Lucy is, despite her position and her past. 

Honestly, Lucy is the hottest and sexiest priest ever. Her view of sex as sacred prevents her from jumping without thinking into a sexual relationship but once she offers her heart and soul, then she is completely in love.

I love everything about her. She’s kind, she’s generous, she’s sexy, she knows who she is, she’s also open to change and growth. Seeing these two women, who appear very different but share the same values, come together is captivating.

Excerpts from the book:

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