The Vanishing Bridge by Elena Graf (Hobbs series book #9)

Hobbs series book number nine is here!!

What I most like about Elena Graf’s Hobbs series are the remarkable characters involved and the close lesbian community they have built in Hobbs.

They are mature women in their fifties or sixties, they have been through life and they have vast life experience in so many areas: the hardships, the risk taking, the effort and the drama of reality, love, sexuality, religion, self-discovery, self-understanding, self-acceptance, the improvement of character, knowledge and talent, the becoming more confident, more assured of themselves.

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 really enjoy how their passion for the arts, music, theatre, religion, sense of community bring them together and these great loves and friendships are build and they flourish with such beauty and they are so rare in this troubled world.

They are not the typical lesbian romance characters, because the Hobbs series is not about romance, but about real life, and in real life people are flawed, thus the Hobbs characters are far more complex. They are at different stages in life: Liz and Lucy got married, Lucy wrote a book about sex and religion, Sam and Maggie are deeper in their relationship, Sam is working, while Maggie didn’t go back to the stage, but is helping her daughter Alina with her grandchildren and Liz feels the distance between her and Sam and she doesn’t like it.

I like Cherie’s aunt from Louisiana, Simone. She is such a blessing.

We are, also, introduced to Susan Gidney’s brighter and better side.

There are new characters: deacon soon to become priest Sudan refugee, Reshma John, than Teresa, Grace, the Sudan refugee family Reshma helps out, and Bobby Lantry, Liz’s new P.A., who treats especially elderly customers.



The meaning of the title:

“Bridges symbolize change and flexibility! They show us this simple philosophy: When you are on one side, you can easily move to the other side!”

(Mehmet Murat)

“To walk the vanishing (invisible) bridge means to go forward, even if you would rather hang back and blend into the crowdTo walk into the unknown, trusting that the net will appear; to speak out and step forth, even when the path looks uncertain and the territory hostile.”

Gia Storms

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There are so many plot changes and new situations that leave the reader amazed.

Liz and Lucy live their fairytale as newlyweds, in their intimacy, Lucy really loves Liz, and while Liz loves her, also, she becomes more attentive to Lucy’s needs and happiness, and discovers new sides of herself, from within the emotion, the sensuality, the security and the trust between each other.

Lucy’s book on sexuality and religion, is not very well received and she struggles with the bad reviews, but she is encouraged by Liz and all their friends not to give up and continue with supporting her ideas and perhaps she can write a new book.

Lucy loves being on the stage again and gives her best as an opera professional.

Liz loves this new Lucy she is seeing.

However, Lucy is really tired with all these activities that keep her busy.

I really enjoy this theme: mature women don’t settle and take care of their children only, they work hard even in their sixties, they follow their passions and have wonderful love lives.

Brenda and Cherie adopted their young children, Olivia is recovering from a stroke and feels lonely, Denise and Maggie struggle to get along for the sake of helping Lucy running the musical director part for the church.

Susan struggles to become a respectable priest again starting anew in Hobbs, she tries to get involved and help Lucy with different kind of issues and surprisingly, she can help Reshma to follow her vocation as a priest and help her with the sermons.

Susan, also, teaches at the local school in the old fashioned way, and Courtney, the school’s principal, is really impressed with Susan’s way of teaching and interacting with the children, based on her vast experience as a teacher. She also struggles financially, but she gets help from unexpected persons.

Can Susan overcome her villain status and become a positive character?

Can she stay sober against all odds?

Can she gain Lucy’s trust once more?

Other themes are touched here: can a former alcoholic recover and become a respectable priest once more; can she find love again?

Reshma John came as a refugee from Africa, more specific, from Sudan. The Episcopal Diocese in Maine was very involved in helping the new refugees. A few parishes got together and sponsored her and two other girls to get very good education.

She is very intelligent and smart as a whip.

First, she was a deacon in Lucy’s church and now she is to become a priest, but she questions her vocation, and postponed her

She is also confused of her attraction to Denise and judges herself for it.

Lucy and Susan help her with insightful discussions and give her a little advice from their vast experience on how to self-acceptance, self-understanding and self-discovery.

And these themes are touched here: can a refugee child become an educated intelligent woman, can a priest accept her attraction to a trans woman?

Bobby Lantry is Liz’s new P.A., specialized in treating elderly customers.

She lives in a big house on the beach, where she lives together with an older woman, whom she seems to be taking care of: Joyce.

She has two students living upstairs, who help her take care of Joyce in exchange of lodging and nice meals.

Bobby and Susan start a nice friendship, but is friendship seems not be blooming, because they both have their secrets and insecurities.

Who is Joyce?

Can Susan tell Bobby she is a recovering alcoholic?

Can their friendship bloom after the secrets are disclosed?

Themes touched here : friendship can’t be based on hidden truths and the hardship of taking care of an incapacitated older woman after certain age.

I enjoyed the many food we are introduced to in this book: Reshma cooks sudanese receipts, Simone cooks Lousiana receipts a.s.o.

I would have loved to live in Hobbs, if the characters were real and Hobbs was a real place.

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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

In Hobbs book #7 – „Strands”, the Hobbs lesbian community definitely became more united since Liz and Lucy are the power couple, 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.

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.

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

“The Rector’s Wedding” is Hobbs series book #8. Liz and Lucy get married surrounded by all their family and friends in a wonderful ceremony and great afterparty.

Lucy writes a book on religion and sexuality and her professional opera singer career is flourishing at it’s second stage and Liz and Lucy travel quite a lot for Lucy’s concerts.

Denise’s career is flourishing also and she must decide between her musical career and her job as choir director.

Brenda and Cherie are raising their adopted children and have a really busy life.

Sam and Maggie start a relationship, but there are many uncertainties here. They are like oil and water, yet opposites do attract. Sam doesn’t like to be told how to dress when going to church. Maggie would love to go back to acting, but she doesn’t find the time as she is helping her daughter Alina with her granddaughters and she is also helping Denise and Lucy with the church’s musical program.

Olivia is recovering from a stroke and feels lonely, as she doesn’t have a relationship and she can’t go back to work, yet, but she a brilliant idea in organizing Lucy and Liz’s wedding at her home with the help of Maggie and all the other Hobbs women.

Liz is not enchanted by Sam and Maggie’s relationship, but as we know her she is very considerate and she always does good deeds.

Still, what will she think about Olivia and Maggie organizing her wedding with Lucy?

I like these little dramas within the Hobbs lesbian community.

Then, the turning point will be another surprise character returning to Hobbs, fallen angel: Susan Gedney, the woman who inspired Lucy to become a priest and also, her first lesbian lover. In the previous book “Strands” – Hobbs series book no.7, Susan wanted Lucy back and upset Liz. What is she up to now?

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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)

I totally recommend the Hobbs series by Elena Graf, because of the remarkable characters, these lovely lesbian ladies in their fifties or sixties who form the Hobbs universe.

Can’t wait for Hobbs series book #10!.

Sources:

https://www.meer.com/en/58817-under-and-over-bridges

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