Review of a taste of Vanilla by Leigh Ellwood

A taste of vanilla

A taste of vanilla is a revision of a story that first appeared  in  “Coming together” and tells the story of Hailies initial encounters of Lesbianism with Cecile, a woman she has met on the internet.

Rating 3 out of 5

Novella’s like a taste of vanilla can be a difficult undertaking for the author.   In a relatively short period of time, they need to create characters who are intriguing enough to draw you in to exploring their world, their feelings and emotions so that you can paint the picture they are sketching for you. Ultimately, your enjoyment of the book comes from how it makes you think about the characters and what they leave you with as their story unfolds.

The story outlines “Hailies” initial encounters and exploration of a same sex relationship with Cecile, a woman that she meets over the internet.  Their relationship matures through the exchange of emails and photos to the point where they agree to meet at a neutral coffee house.  In a sense, the way their relationship develops is a very modern one, flirting though emails and photos, anonymous and safe without the potential embarrassment of being stood up or friends judging you in the background.  Thea is one such friend.  The voice on Hailies shoulder as the story unfolds.  More than the obvious “you could be talking to an axe murderer” that many who use online dating will be familiar with, she also encourages Hailie to question her potential indulgence into her same sex fantasy.

Hailie eventually overcomes these doubts and over the course of the book, her first two encounters with Cecile are told.  Although the character development is scarce up until this point, each encounter is told with great detail and care.  The first explores Hailies emotions and feelings of intimacy and empowerment through sex which leaves her wanting more of Cecile.  Specifically, the Taste of Vanilla which the book is named after.  The second is a more complicated affair which hints at things to come, with Hailie and Cecile meeting at a friends party as a blind date setup for others. This last encounter is the scene the book is setup to leave the reader with – a lasting memory of Hailie and Cecile to ponder what happens next.

Whether you’re able to connect emotionally with either character, A taste of Vanilla is an enjoyable novella for those who are new to Lesbian fiction. Hailie’s experimentation and introduction to Cecile form a nice metaphor for what I hope will be your continued reading and enjoyment of the genre.