Hersband by Christina Batista

Publisher/Date:  BookSurge Publishing, Dec. 2006
Genre(s): Romance, Hispanic Fiction
Pages:  254
Website:  http://www.hersband.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

What starts in the 1960s and ends in the 1990s is the basis for HERSBAND, the semi-autobiographical, debut novel from Christina Batista. Protagonist Dena Vargas is a Brooklyn-born lesbian searching for true love, but instead discovers all kinds of misadventures with women.

With her light skin, curly hair and green eyes, Dena endured being a tomboy and having crushes on girls. She had always been honest with herself and her family about her sexuality, but finding someone to love proved to be the harder task.

After coming out at 20, she begins her foray into the gay world, along with her lesbian cousin Hilda. The women share the experiences and drama of falling and out of in love. Dena’s first encounter occurs when she becomes enamored of Marcy, a woman she meets at a party. Like the story of Cinderella, the pair share one dance, but due to unforeseen circumstances, don’t cross paths again. Dena spends months trying to find Marcy, turning down other available women to find the one she’s meant to be with.

And they do finally come together. And fall in love. And break up. And get back together. And break up yet again. Two years of this leads to the demise of their relationship, and dumps Dena back into the dating pool. This time though, she finds only quick or dead-end flings – and Dena never settles for the status quo.

Yet Dena’s story is far more than just her journey to love. It’s also about parties, dildos, fights, family, and simply a typical coming of age for a lesbian. Dena’s saga culminates when she realizes it’s time to settle down and become an adult – a transition we all have to make one way or another.

Hersband is an amiable novel, written by Batista with a flair for chronicling the life of a Hispanic lesbian. Here’s a character you’ll follow in her passage from a child and to a grown woman. Though slow at first, Hersband builds to a satisfying, cliffhanging finale.

What happens next with Dena, you never know – but you’ll want to find out.

Reviewed June 2008

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