an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage
Size: 5.00 x 5.00 in
Reading Loving Artemis by Janet Mason is a full-body immersion into the 1970s, with the smells of joints and musk oil, the tastes of beer and lip gloss, and the sounds of motorcycles roaring down a highway. It captures perfectly the days when young queers searched library catalog cards to find “homosexual” books, when teen lesbians felt they were the only ones in the world. More than a coming-of-age story, more than the love story of Artemis and Grace, the novel is also an illuminating and thoroughly enjoyable journey through the decades. I cared about these characters and loved seeing their lives come full circle by the book’s end in the 21st century. – Kathy Anderson, Bull and Other Stories
Loving Artemis, An Endearing Tale of Revolution, Love And Marriage (Thorned Heart Press, August 2022) by Janet Mason is a novel that comes just as the hard-won right of marriage equality is being threatened.
Loving Artemis appeals to a wide readership, with particular interest to the LGBTQA+ audience. As a love story and a coming-of-age narrative, it holds universal appeal. It is also an important slice of American history -- enticing to those who have lived through it. It also attracts a younger audience who want to learn about the events that led to marriage equality.
Artemis found the love of her life when she met Linda, but their passionate relationship fizzles when Artemis lands herself on the other side of the law. Pulling the pieces of her life together, Artemis rekindles her relationship with Linda, and together they raise a daughter.
Meanwhile, Grace, running from her past, starts a life with Thalia. At a pride parade, Grace spots someone who reminds her of Artemis, who she was briefly involved with in her youth. Old feelings are rekindled. A lifetime of rejection, abandonment, and fleeing rears its head, Now she must come to terms with her past, put her relationship with Artemis to rest--or risk losing everything.
Artemis and Grace embark on a journey of revolution, love, and marriage and discovery that love finds us when we least expect it.
Janet Mason is an award-winning creative writer, teacher, and occasional blogger for such places as The Huffington Post. Her book, Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters, published by Bella Books in 2012, was chosen by the American Library Association for its 2013 Over the Rainbow List. Tea Leaves also received a Goldie Award. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her novel THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders (Adelaide Books – New York and Lisbon) was featured at the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair. Adelaide Books also published her novel The Unicorn, The Mystery late in 2020. She lives and writes in Philadelphia. Her novel Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage was published by Thorned Heart Press in August, 2022.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 1
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Queer Wedding, Star-Crossed Lovers, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 78000
Languages Available: English
Grace stood on the crowded sidewalk and watched the Dykes on Bikes contingent kick off the parade. The skyscrapers on both sides of Fifth Avenue echoed the roar: rage turned celebratory.
Today was their day.
Motorcycles, full of motion, crawled at parade speed. Hands gripped controls at the ends of shiny handlebars. Engines revved. Rainbow flags rippled red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. Horizontal stripes danced. The colors represented the many nationalities and ethnic groups — all of them — in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. Like a telephoto lens, Grace focused in on a woman in the center of the crowd, and mirrored sunglasses stared back. The woman's short, mahogany hair looked like it had been carved by the air, like wings. A thrill shimmied up Grace's spine. The woman was riding slowly. but in Grace's imagination, she zoomed.
She reminded Grace
of a girl from her adolescence, her lover (even though they didn’t call it that then), a girl named Art. Maybe Art had blazed through time — from high school to the present nearly three decades and a world of difference later.
Art had been short for something, but Grace couldn't remember what. Grace had known Art so long ago that it felt like a previous life; one that Grace never talked about. No one knew about her past except Thalia, Grace's partner of twenty-four years. Thalia was a compassionate person. She almost always saw the best in everyone. Her
voice lilted. Her hair fell to her shoulders in a cascade of loose curls of silver and shades of blond and brown. Beyond salt and pepper,
her hair resembled shades of light. When Thalia looked up at Grace, her hair framed her face. Her crown caught the light and a halo appeared.
When Thalia listened intensely, her deep-set blue eyes enveloped Grace.
One time, when Grace mentioned that “No one believes me when I talk about my past.”
Thalia responded by saying somberly, “I believe you.”
In that moment, Grace relaxed into herself. Thalia made her feel understood. She was safe with Thalia.
Grace never mentioned her past, even to her friends. She made sure never to tell her students. What kind of example would that set?
Grace hadn’t used drugs for years and dealing them was in her past. She had come to understand that life was too precious to risk.
She had seen firsthand that actions had consequences. Even Thalia had her limits. Before becoming involved with Grace, she had been
involved with a woman who had a drinking problem and who got involved in messy situations. Thalia made it clear that the relationship
hadn’t lasted long.
Grace knew she was lucky.
Maria Fama on Amazon wrote:
Zen and the Art of Lesbian Motorcycle Maintenance
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2022
Janet Mason is at her best in this well-wrought, seamless coming-of-age novel. But Loving Artemis is more than a coming-of-age novel. It's the history of the LGBTQ and feminist struggle seen through the lens of adolescent lovers who parted ways in 1977 at age 18 — and who each lived very different lives through the ensuing decades. From navigating high school politics and teenage yearnings to re-defining themselves in a rapidly changing world, Artemis and Grace take us on a sweeping journey through a tumultuous time for culture and politics.
Artemis is arguably the coolest girl in her ginormous high school in the Philadelphia exurbs. Leather-jacketed, motorcycle riding, book smart, and street-wise with an independent streak as long as I-95, her swagger and her glare can stifle a heckler. But is it really a clever cover for her insecurities and her unstable home life? After a heartbreaking loss, Art hooks up briefly with Grace, who's dazzled by Art, but confused and struggling with her sexuality, her family's expectations, and her self-understanding.
Years later, Grace thinks she may have spotted Art at a Pride Parade. The moment rekindles her memories and ignites a story at the intersection of political culture, popular culture, drug culture, the rise of feminism, and the long slow crash of the American Dream.
Mason weaves history, humor, and pathos into a compelling, compassionate narrative with strong, memorable characters, deep insights, and motorcycles too!
The Prairies Review on The Prairies Review wrote:
A Rich and Satisfying Coming of Age Novel
Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2022
In her absorbing new novel, Loving Artemis, Janet Mason gives her readers a coming of age tale masterfully framed by the story of Thalia and Grace, two professional, middle-aged women in a long term relationship in 2015. We are then taken back in time to the turbulent late 1970s, when the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Women's Rights Movements were making inroads into the national consciousness. There we meet bright, talented, working class teenage girls, Artemis, Grace, and Linda, among other interesting characters, both male and female. The girls grapple with their sexuality, family expectations, education, relationships, and life decisions, while finding their way in a world with many pitfalls, including drugs and alcohol. This novel contains an added bonus of providing engrossing facts about history, science, culture, and religion, as Artemis and Grace ponder them. Loving Artemis offers within its pages, stories of romance, danger, disappointment, love, and the ultimate vindication of the human spirit. This novel is very rich and satisfying and is not to be missed.
A stunning novel about queer love, independence, self-realization, and personal and political revolution…
Set against the historic backdrop of events that shaped the U.S. Supreme Court’s long overdue decision to legalize same sex marriage that is under attack today, award-winning novelist Mason vividly recounts a saga of revolution through love, resilience, and faith in her latest novel. 1970. Struggling with her sexual identity and her mother’s impossible expectation, eighteen-year-old Grace finds herself falling for the strong-willed and free-spirited Artemis after the latter saves her from a drug party. But Art lands herself on the other side of the law, and Grace’s aspirations come in her way of her relationship. She leaves Art and moves to another city. Now decades later, Grace is successful in her career and has a live-in-partner Thalia. When Grace spots Art in a pride parade, the old feelings come to surface, forcing Grace to question her relationship with Thalia. And Art has her own life, and she’s raising a daughter with Linda, her school-time flame. Mason’s skillfully crafted plot pulls the reader right from the beginning, and she expertly weaves historical events into the narrative to create a feeling of authenticity. Utilizing an extraordinary sense of place, a poignant love story, and the power of endurance, Mason beautifully weaves her two distinct story lines. The crisp prose pulls together past and present and the authentically rendered events humanize the horrors the LGBTQ community faces on a regular basis. The struggles here are real and wrenching: Mason skillfully delves into her protagonists’ yearning for freedom and acceptance while illustrating the trauma and stigma that followed the members of LGBTQ community during the era. The alternating first-person narration voices are relatable and sincere, and the vividly sketched characters are realistically flawed. Mason beautifully emphasizes the enduring qualities of her protagonists, allowing them the space to shine. With an intriguing supporting cast of friends, family, and a nemesis or two, the women experience heartbreak, loss, hope, and triumph. Readers are sure to be taken with the fortitude of Grace, and Art, who manage to find fulfillment and happiness amid all the bigotry and resistance of their time. With a focus on love and self-realization, this well-researched tale serves as a solid history lesson on the legalization of same sex marriage in America. Highly recommended.