What do you do when the woman you want to be … is a man?
Nina’s abusive childhood left her feeling so vulnerable when wearing anything flimsier than combat boots that she has spent her whole adult life dressed like a gang boy. But when she meets the tall, glamourous, charismatic Julia (actually her cross-dressing neighbor, Julian, going out en femme), Nina is seized by an overwhelming and terrifying urge to finally express her own femininity.
Julia/n has not only a slightly split personality but also a thoroughly broken heart. What s/he wants most is a partner who will love both Julia and Julian. While Nina learns from Julia how to be a woman, Julian discovers that they might well be made for each other, but it will take a struggle against prejudice and a whole conservative mind-set before they can follow their hearts, and express their true, unique, and beautiful selves.
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Pairings: M-F, 4+ or Other
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Age Difference, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, InstaLove / Love at First Sight, May/December, True Love
Word Count: 40000
Languages Available: English
“Well, are we going out this evening or what?” asked Julia, seeing Nina sitting down still naked on the bed.
“Oh, it will take me two minutes to get ready,” said Nina, smiling up at her. “I am not such a woman as you,” she added, grinning impishly.READ MORE
“Oh, indeed?” said Julia, and pinched her nose in passing, then went to the wardrobe to fish out some stockings, a pocket bra, and breast forms. Boobs were invariably the first thing. She liked her body well enough, as a man or a woman, except for that flat chest. A girl should have tits, and a boy should have some muscle at least, but somehow, she had failed to achieve either. The sweet, soft, bouncy weight of the breast forms immediately made her feel better about herself. Stockings were always the next thing. Her legs were as smooth as silk in any case, but the sleek feel of stockings on them was almost an aphrodisiac. Time was, long ago, when she was much, much younger, when just wearing a pair of stockings would give her a hard-on. She was not such a green horn anymore, luckily, because the last thing she needed right now was an erection.
She stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror, and pulled on her gaff half the way. She gently maneuvered her testicles back up to where they were before they dropped (if only they had stayed there, she thought despondently, and not for the first time), then gave her empty scrotum a slight twist and pushed it down and back towards her buttocks. She was on the point of tucking her penis down and under the same way (if she laid them side by side, they looked every bit like labia through her gaff … et voilà, instant pussy … more or less), when she caught sight of Nina’s eyes. Nina was still sitting on the bed, still naked, and gazing at her with those gorgeous gipsy eyes, studying everything Julia did and every inch of her body. Julia threw a look at her own lean, white figure in the mirror. She was standing with a hand between her legs and her gaff askew, half way between her knees and her hips, which felt somewhat less than graceful and dignified, and she wondered what Nina was seeing that was so entrancing.
“What?” she asked, smiling.
“Nothing. I did wonder where they went, when … you know.”
Julia grinned. “They don’t go very far, worry not.”
Nina stretched herself long, like a happy cat, still gazing hungrily at her, eating her with her eyes.
And suddenly Julia stiffened. “Oh dear,” she said.
“What?” asked Nina, in a somewhat comical echo of what Julia had said less than a minute earlier.
“Er … ahem. Stop looking at me. Just don’t. I can’t tuck it with a hard-on!”
Nina covered her face with her hands, vainly trying to suppress a fit of laughter. “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t!”
Julia was laughing too by now. It was hopeless. She let the whole lot hang out again and took two short steps to the bed (the gaff half-way up made it impossible to step out properly). She kneeled on the bed and started tickling Nina’s feet, the back of her knees and her sides.
“I didn’t do anything, I didn’t,” Nina repeated, between peals of laughter.
“Ah, but you were thinking, don’t deny that you were thinking.”
“Ok, ok, maybe I was, a little bit, please stop, stop, please!” Nina turned on her side, and curled up in a tight ball, still shaking with laughter. Julia stopped tickling her and pushed her on her belly, wiggled out of the gaff, then straddled Nina’s small buttocks and leaned down to nuzzle her neck and the back of her head.
“What were you thinking, you imp? Mh? What were you thinking?”
She bit gently into Nina’s earlobe and kissed her cheek. Nina smiled beatifically.
“That you are an elf, an angel, a goddess.”
“A female-female she-goddess? Really, with all this embarrassment hanging out all over the place like this?”
She let her cock and her smooth, smooth balls brush Nina’s buttocks, smiled and kissed her again.
“Always. You will always be a goddess to me,” murmured Nina, drinking in the kisses, her eyes closed. Her hand searched for Julia’s hand, their fingers wove together of their own accord, and Nina drew the hand closer to kiss Julia’s fingertips one by one, adoringly. Julia smiled and pressed her breasts down on Nina’s back, rubbing them gently on her shoulder blades.
She kissed Nina again and again, on her temple, cheek, eyelid, nose, the corner of her mouth. She was so precious. Sleek, small-boned, but fierce and sharp, like a bird of prey, hooded and caged, but never quite tamed. And I have set you free, and you chose to fly to me.
“I love you. Darling,” she whispered in her ear, in her huskiest, deepest voice, and Nina shuddered all over while her spine gave a twist, as Julia knew it would. Nina turned under her, to hug her and draw her body down. Julia moved her knees within Nina’s legs, and just like that, without any difficulty, her untimely erection found a place to go.
So wet. How can you become so wet just by looking at me? What do you see that nobody else ever saw? What do you see that even I don’t see? Julia sank her face in Nina’s neck, to kiss her, bite her, whisper in her ear, yes, oh yes, whisper and murmur and cajole, until my voice will make you melt, my love, my love, my love.COLLAPSE
Christine Potter on Amazon Review wrote:
Woman as a Foreign Language is a book I was already excited about reading when I came across an absolutely atrocious review. It was harsh, completely incongruous with the praise I had seen, and did not reflect what I already knew of Katherine Wyvern. Social rebel and literary contrarian that I am, of course, that made me even more anxious to give it a read.
In all honesty, there are only two things wrong with this book, and they are both issues that I bring to it as a reader. The first is that the character of Nina's mother (perfectly described as 'the pudding') is painfully familiar, so much so that she triggered some uncomfortable flashbacks. The second is Julia's chain-smoking, a habit I absolutely detest, which triggered memories of its own. As a reader, I understand that those are my own issues, however, and not a reflection on the story or the author.
Now, having said all of that, I absolutely loved this book. The writing is beautiful, the language perfectly suited to each point-of-view, and the characters wonderfully damaged. At its core, Wyvern twists the usual gender/genre expectations, and that excited me. Here we have a cisgender woman who looks up to her transgender neighbor, from whom she learns to embrace and celebrate her own femininity. That Nina does not initially realize Julia is transgender is both irrelevant and essential to the plot. The fact alone has nothing to do with Nina's admiration, but the way in which it is revealed has much to do with her affection.
This is a book that has a lot to say about gender, gender roles, and gender expectations. It is also a book that is not afraid to acknowledge the difference between female biology and feminine behavior. While readers who come into the story with an agenda may find flaws with its approach, I found it to be genuine and honest. Keep in mind that this a story told through two points-of-view, which means that every statement or observation is that of a character - Nina or Julia - and not that of an omniscient narrator passing judgement. While such a narrator might make a clear declaration that a woman does not have to be feminine to be female, both characters have their own reasons for seeking feminine in themselves, and each other.
As for Julia, I found her character to be fascinating. She is a transgender woman who has not really decided what that means. There is no obsession over labels, no angst over identity, just an honest acknowledgement that Julian is happier, and more comfortable as Julia. As for Nina, she loves both aspects, and sees in Julia a feminine transition to which she can relate. When they do finally become intimate, it is as one woman to another, and the fact that one of them has some extra equipment is happily accommodated, yet never fetishized.
Ultimately, Woman as a Foreign Language is exactly what I look for in an erotic transgender romance. It is gender-positive and sex-positive; erotic and romantic; and painful and funny. It is a literary reflection of life, with two characters I would very much like to get to know, and whom would be welcome in my home (or on my bookshelf) any time.
The first thing that struck me about Woman As A Foreign Language was its author’s voice: sure, just a little ironic, clear-eyed. This book notices things, and it’s rich with detail no matter who the narrator is, whether it’s first person or third person—and the point of view does alternate, here. Shifting POV can be confusing, or even self-conscious, but in a book that is so much about identity, it feels absolutely natural. It’s the right way to tell this story.
Nina is a young woman whose abusive childhood has made her afraid to fully own her femininity. And Julia and Julian are two souls in one body—or perhaps they are the same soul, just reflected in different ways. At first Nina’s attraction to Julia—Julian dressed en femme—seems like a adolescent girl-crush. But then it deepens into love, with some of the most gracefully written and heartfelt erotic scenes I have ever read. They are beautiful—and really very steamy!
I never thought I would be this wrapped up in a book with a main character who is a welder—but the whole idea of welding is an awfully good metaphor for its plot. The joining of things, the smoothing of things…that’s what this story is about.
Although Nina’s life with her dysfunctional, nasty mother is a tremendously sad one at the book’s opening, this is an uplifting read. It’s sweet without being sentimental and the close is utterly satisfying. Woman As A Foreign Language is a page turner, too! It’s difficult to put it down. This is simply a terrific novel.