REVIEW: Confined Desires – Katherine McIntyre

Confined Desires - Katherine McIntyre

Genre: Contemporary Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian

Reviewer: H.L.

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About The Book

Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.

Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.

Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.

That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.

The Review

Skylar Jenkins and Mia Brownstone were best friends in high school, but lost touch when Mia went to an interstate college and Sky stayed in her hometown to attend culinary school. They find themselves reunited when Mia needs to crash on Sky’s couch to wait out a global pandemic, and Sky knows she’s in for a difficult few weeks thanks to her reignited crush on her best friend.
Confined Desires is the first COVID-era lockdown romance I’ve read, but this book is not about the virus or its true impact on society. The COVID-expy, “TELA”, is just background dressing, a catalyst for reuniting Sky and Mia. The book is about these two women, Sky – a lesbian who came out in high school – and her overwhelming attraction and feelings for her best friend Mia, who has just endured a bad breakup and now finds herself increasingly drawn to Sky while in close proximity during the lockdown. 

The sweet and tender moments between Mia and Sky are where the book shines. The love scenes are well-written, sexy, and steamy, and there were some lovely moments where Sky and Mia were getting to know each other again after years apart. I liked that the set-up for them was essentially, “And they were roommates!” (“Oh my god, they were roommates.”)

I was frustrated with the lack of stakes and genuine obstacles. Despite the pandemic setting, the attention was squarely on the romance that builds between the two “besties”, and the conflicts are all purely interpersonal – and most of those conflicts could have been solved with a simple, honest conversation. I wanted to shake Sky for being so self-sabotaging for what I felt were unconvincing reasons. The setting seemed wasted, too: the virus’s impact on Sky’s restaurant and career as a chef was brought up at the beginning of the book, which I was actually quite invested in, but after the first few chapters, it was as though everyone had forgotten about the virus (and Sky’s career and actual talents/interests outside of Mia) entirely.

A romance set amidst a global pandemic, published during a real-world global pandemic, won’t be for everyone. But if you’re looking for a quick read with low-stakes and low-drama, Confined Desires is an enjoyable lockdown lesbian romance that has just enough heat and a happy ending to entertain for a few hours.

The Reviewer

H. L. is a Jewish Australian writer of LGBT+ fiction. She holds a Master of Arts in International Relations (2015) and a Bachelor of Media in Communications and Journalism (2012), both from the University of New South Wales.

She has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen. She is the author of M/M fantasy romance novels Heart Of Dust and Soul Of Ash, Books 1 & 2 of the Death’s Embrace series.

She has had two speculative short stories published: “The Collector” in the 2014 Future Times Award Collection A Tick Tock Heart, and “Entente” in the 2020 Twisted Stories Award Collection Just Alice.   

 

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