Strands by Elena Graf (Hobbs series book #7) ~ my review

It is a thrill to read each new book from the Hobbs series.

I am familiar with the characters because I have read all the previous books.

I was really anxious to see what happens next in the Hobbs universe with all the remarkable characters: Lucy, Liz, Brenda, Cherie, Sam, Olivia, Courtney, Melissa, Denise.

They are all flawed, nobody’s perfect, we all choose wrong sometimes and so are they.

That is why they are so special.

Also, they are women in their fifties or sixties, they have been through life and they have all kind of experiences, they are not the typical lesbian romance characters, they are far more complex.

In one word: they are remarkable.

And they make Hobbs a wonderful place.

I would have loved to live in Hobbs with them, if they were real and Hobbs was a real place.

It is a great achievement for Elena Graf to have created the Hobbs universe with these specials lesbian ladies over fifties.

I love their intellect and both their scientific and emotional intelligence make their communication vibrant and smart, like in no other in lesbian fiction.

I am happy that I have read all the Hobbs series books and I can’t believe this is the seventh book already and there is so much more to say and to happen in Hobbs. There are so many plot changes and new situations that  leave the reader amazed.

„Strands” is book #7 in the Hobbs series by Elena Graf.

Let’s do a little summary of the previous Hobbs series books.

The Hobbs series describes the life of a community of lesbian women in their fifties or sixties living at their best in the town of Hobbs, Maine.

In Hobbs book #1 – „High October” we are witnesses of the romantic love between Liz and Maggie, who have loved each other since college, but got separated by Maggie’s parents, she married a man and she meets Liz by accident again after forty years in Hobbs Maine and they fall in love again.

In Hobbs book #2 – „This Is My Body” we are introduced to the most original character  of them all, Mother Lucy, a former opera star at the Met Opera in New York, who has become an Episcopalian reverend and moved to Hobbs Maine, and met and fall in love with Erika, a philosophy professor and Liz’s best friend.

In Hobbs book #3 – „Love In Time Of Corona” we couldn’t wait to see Police Chief Brenda Harrison happy in love. She falls for Cherie Bois, Liz’s new medical assistant, who seems to hate Brenda and she doesn’t know why and how to make Cherie know her, the woman behind the uniform.

In Hobbs book #4 – „Thirsty Thursdays” we are excited (at least I am), to enjoy the love story between sweet architect Sam McKinnon and the almost melting ice queen, retired Wall-Street fund manager, Olivia Enright, who has become one of my favorite characters in the series, because she is just incorrigible.

In Hobbs book #5 – „The Dark Winter”, the two unexpected turning points turned the Hobbs women’s life around.

In Hobbs  book #6 – „Summer People”, we are absorbed in Melissa and Courtney’s love story. Melissa Morgenstern, a forty something trust lawyer from Boston of Jewish heritage („a willowy woman with long, dark hair and the kind of figure only the young enjoy with voltaic blue eyes”), Courtney Barnes („a pretty woman, with long, blonde hair and warm brown eyes”), the new assistant principal of the Hobbs elementary school

A special character comes in, Denise Chantal, a very attractive transgender singer who will replace Maggie as the new music director at Lucy’s church.

An unexpected surprise is another fallen angel: Susan Gedney, the woman who inspired Lucy to become a priest and also, her first lesbian lover. She looks like a „beloved elementary teacher with fading blond hair and gentle eyes with a face of saintly quality”.

Like the title and the cover suggests, „Strands” is a symbol for a united community through the ropes of the heart (love) ~ heart shaped ropes or the lover’s knot.

Significance  

“The lover’s knot or love knot has a long history of being a symbol of love. It represents the unbreakable bond and eternal connection between two lovers.

The association of knots with love has appeared in many different cultures since ancient times. These include ancient Greek jewellery, Egyptian sculptures, and Celtic knots . Meanwhile in ancient Arabia, lovers used love knots to send messages to each other.

The Celtic knots consist of unbroken loops with no beginning and end, symbolizing eternity like the love between a married couple. Yet, another folklore tells of lovers tying a love knot on a small limb of a tree. If the knot holds for a year, it means that their love will last.”

The Hobbs lesbian community definitely became more united since Liz and Lucy are a pair, yet all the other couples add value to it, like Brenda and Cherie, Courtney and Melissa.

There are so many unexpected situations and change of direction in the plot, which I really can’t tell without exposing the beauty of the book, so I won’t, for the fun of the read.

There is a new character who adds to the story: Dr. Amy Hsu, Liz colleague in the Hobbs family practice. She is of Asian heritage and she is really special. I wonder how will she adapt to the other characters and who will have her attention.

Portrait of a beautiful Asian businesswoman smiling. Horizontal shot.

There are ups and downs for each and every couple in town.

Some characters return. We were expecting this, but not in this (absolutely amazing) manner!

Brenda and Cherie are given an unexpected, yet a wonderful gift.

Sam has new life experiences and special encounters.

Olivia is tested in unexpected ways.

Denise is a special character.

Liz and Lucy are is the new power couple in Hobbs. They want to get married, yet they need to wait the church’s approval for an Episcopalian priest to marry a divorced woman. And also, Liz needs to have a couple of meetings with Lucy’s bishop. This was so much fun.

Liz is once more put in awkward and funny situations.

In this book, Liz is being tested from all sides. She is overwhelmed by her future marriage with Lucy, then at work, the pandemic is far being over and then the character who returns turns her world around.

I, also, found very interesting that Liz teaches defensive gun shooting training classes and has a strong opinion on sensitive gun control (Elena Graf nuances this opinion skillfully).

Lucy works too much and the women around notice and by trying to do good, they end doing trouble. And, who, from all the Hobbs women!

Liz is still amazed by Lucy, who seems to see her whole and all through her, how she tries to control her bluntness and her childish tendencies and her crazy libido.

They make a wonderful couple and even if they are not perfect, they are flawed and they have done their share of mistakes, they never stop learning and evolving as humans, women and never stop helping others and learn how to love from this new perspective.

They are the most humane characters I have ever read about.

They are truly exceptional.

I still love Liz – „A fallen idol is still a god.” (Elizabeth Cheresh Allen)

And I love Lucy more – „She is a saint with the lips of a sinner / She is an angel with a devilish kiss.” (n3r)

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