Book Reviews

A Time to Speak by Riley Scott at Bella Books

Genre Lesbian / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Kym Palmer on 02-October-2017

Book Blurb

When the brutal murder of the only known lesbian in town jolts the sleepy community of Knell, Texas, life is turned upside down for everyone. 

Amidst the scandal, turmoil and heartache over the loss of her friend and part-time lover, Amelia Brandt struggles to find her identity and voice in a town torn by discrimination. 

Meanwhile, Dominique Velez—the leader of Texans for Equality—is determined and poised to help mend hearts and change minds in a hurting town. Hitting the road and leaving the safety of Austin, Texas, Dominique takes a risk to help the community of Knell stand up for what is right—all while attempting to help Amelia come to terms with what has happened and move forward. 

In the fight for equality and justice, can there be a sufficient resolution? And, while she’s drawn to Dominique’s boldness and charm, can Amelia conquer the fears that have kept her identity concealed and her heart closed off from love?

Book Review

This book is a romance, murder mystery, political statement, and family drama all rolled into one, and it pulls off all facets in fine style.

Amelia is in the closet, so far back in it she could see Narnia. Sneaking around with Chloe, the town’s one and only out lesbian, she refuses to face up to her true self, and therefore when Chloe is brutally murdered, she has no way to publicly grieve without outing herself to the small, traditional population of Knell.

Dominique works for a not-for-profit equality group, and when she hears about the murder on the news, which is already being called a hate crime, she’s determined to head up to this small-knit community and reach out, either to offer a listening ear, or to try to swing some opinions.

When Dominique arrives in Knell, she sticks out like a sore thumb – Latino, openly lesbian, even her clothes scream “different”. She’s treated with suspicion by most, and can’t quite understand why the woman who runs the local bakery and coffee shop, Amelia, goes to pieces every time Dominique wants to broach the subject of Chloe and the murder…

There are so many things to love about this book I don’t even know where to start! Okay, Amelia. Wow, she was not a likeable character in the first two chapters. Closeted, cold and bitchy as a result of her fears, I was struggling to see how I’d have any sympathy for her. But her journey through this book is so wonderful, I fell a little bit in love with her. Scott has written a beautiful coming out story for Amelia that really touched my heart.

Dominique is a great blend of strong with a hint of vulnerable. When the inevitable romance stirs between her and Amelia, she quite rightly fears she’s nothing more than a rebound, or simply a way for Amelia to have some fun on her way out of the closet. At the same time, she’s so determined to make a difference in Knell, and her strength of character is incredible as she keeps returning to the conservative town.

Alongside the two leading women, Scott has also created portrayals of some key figures in the town. When I first started reading these multiple points of view I feared I’d get lost in all their stories, or that it would be spread a bit thin. Groundless fears, it turns out, as Scott’s masterful use of these points of view only adds delicious richness to the story. Both Chloe and Amelia’s fathers have their say, and my emotions ran high reading these passages. The FBI detective who is determined to put away the killer vents his frustration at the politics that get in his way of doing just that. The local sheriff, utterly bewildered at how something so vicious could happen in his sleepy little town, and the bartender who was the last person, bar the killer, to see Chloe alive, get their voices heard too.

It is fantastic writing, brilliant weaving of a story, and I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Bella Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 254 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-September-2017
Price $9.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback
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