A thought from Rowena Abbott, Sydney, Australia

Silent Goodbyes: When it’s over, it’s over unless you want her back. The trouble is: how do you know?

Emilie Anderson is a 46-year-old lesbian who counts herself as one of the lucky ones, provided she doesn’t think too hard about her safe, comfortable job or her safe, comfortable-enough relationship with grey-eyed Solange.

One day, a chance encounter has the potential to alter everything, but only if Emilie lets it, only if Roberta wants it to. And for Emilie, a bit of a control freak, putting her emotions on hold while another woman takes over the controls is not an easy thing.

Silent Goodbyes is primarily about making choices. It is also about making love and sailing around that beautiful area of Australia made up by the Whitsunday Islands.

C.C. writes about Emilie’s growing awareness of Roberta with insight and tenderness.

“As her eyes meet mine,” Emilie thinks from the cabin of her jeep as she looks at Roberta, “I feel a surge of tenderness. An urge to protect her from my need of her. I could die to nuzzle that red hair and its silver glints, to feel the texture of each curl with my hand, with my lips. She raises her hand to touch my cheek.

It is cool, and I press my face into it. I close my eyes against the tenderness of her touch. Against the blinding ache it has released in me. And I make myself breathe in before daring to open my eyes again. She nods, perhaps knowingly. And again I blush. Blue eyes smile into mine.”

I would say that it is a story for any woman who’s ever fallen in lust, who’s ever tried to suppress the attraction.

“And I, too, was thinking of the difficulty of practising at extending the time between our meetings so that eventually the pangs of desire, to touch, to talk, to look, to read something you’d e-mailed to me, would contract to a small manageable glow, in memory.”

C.C. Saint-Clair’s writing is fresh, direct and evocative, combining the description of action and introspection with consummate ease. This is her third novel that I’ve read; I’m eagerly awaiting her fourth.