ARC Review: Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond

A people-pleasing bridesmaid-for-hire falls for the crushable new lesbian in town. Will she finally find her happily ever after—and her own voice? 

Amy, a semicloseted queer baker and bartender in mid-2010s Oklahoma, has spent a lifetime putting other people’s needs before her own. Until, that is, she hits it off with Charley, a brilliant, attractive engineer who’s just moved to Tulsa. Suddenly, Amy’s found something—someone—she actually wants. Her tight-knit group of chosen family is thrilled she’s finally moving on from her ex. Mostly, though, they want Amy to find a way to show up for love—and life—as her authentic self.

But when a one-off gig subbing in for a bridesmaid turns into a full-time business—thanks to Amy’s baking talents, crafting skills, and years watching rom-coms and Say Yes to the Dress—her deep desire to please kicks into overdrive, at her own expense. It’s not until Amy’s precarious balancing act strains her relationships to the breaking point that she must decide what it looks like to be true to herself—and if she has the courage to try.

My thoughts

In this week’s Jae’s Sapphic Book Bingo, the topic is books based on Historical Events, so it is funny that this is my read this week.

Queerly Beloved takes place during the fight for marriage equality and it is a main focus of the story. Amy came out to her family and friends, once. She never figured that coming out could end up being a daily process instead of a one and done. The events that Amy lives through while coming to the realization that she needs to live life as her authentic self is the focus of Queerly Beloved.

This journey takes us through many weddings, fights with friends, and discussions with family about what it means to be gay today and how getting married reflects these circumstances. I had to re-read the synopsis because at first I was thinking I was reviewing a romance by the view of the cover. It does have some romance in it, but the heart of the tale is Amy’s path to self-awareness.

The issues of how “gay” do you need to live is an issue I deal with myself. I don’t “out” myself everytime I meet new people because I get tired of talking about it. I didn’t really participate in the fight for marriage equality, because I don’t believe in marriage. I don’t have children, and therefore I didn’t and still don’t fight for the adoption of kids by queer couples. All of these topics are the focus of this book. We get to hear everyone’s opinions from those who are gay, genderfluid, and heterosexual – including Amy’s original thoughts.

Amy’s growth as a person has to do with more than where she stands as a lesbian in the world. She grows as a friend through her disagreements with her current friends. She finds a career or two during her journey. And she also finds love. (I actually am not a fan of the romance part of the storyline.)

Susie Dumond brings lots of humor to Queerly Beloved. There are many funny wedding incidents. Dumond brings historical significance to this story through the fight for marriage equality. This is one story that made me want to eat cake. 

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Further Details:

Published by: Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9780593243978, 03 May 2022
Cover Design by: Susan Turner
Edited by: Katy Mishimoto
Narrated by: Kimberly M. Wetherell
Settings: 2013, Tulsa, OK., U.S.
Pages: 400
Secondary Characters include: Gay, Pansexual, Genderqueer, Non-White, Black, Native American Indian

Credits: Promo Photo by Brent Keane on <a href=”https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-icing-cover-cake-1702373/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>Pexels.com</a>

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