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New York, 1949 After years of trying to break into New York City's literary scene, Madeline Slaughter is emotionally and physically exhausted. When a friend offers her a safe haven as the live-in companion to reclusive, bestselling novelist Victor Hallowell she jumps at the chance to escape the city. Madeline expects to find rest and quiet in the forests of Upstate New York. New York, 1949 After years of trying to break into New York City's literary scene, Madeline Slaughter is emotionally and physically exhausted. When a friend offers her a safe haven as the live-in companion to reclusive, bestselling novelist Victor Hallowell she jumps at the chance to escape the city. Madeline expects to find rest and quiet in the forests of Upstate New York. Instead, she finds Victor, handsome and intensely passionate, and Audrey Coffin, Victor's mysterious and beautiful neighbor. When Victor offers her a kiss and the promise of more Madeline allows herself to become entangled even as Audrey is also claiming her heart. The only problem is that Audrey and Victor are ex-lovers with plenty of baggage between them. As Madeline finds herself opening up and falling in love with both she starts to wonder, can there be a future for all three?


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New York, 1949 After years of trying to break into New York City's literary scene, Madeline Slaughter is emotionally and physically exhausted. When a friend offers her a safe haven as the live-in companion to reclusive, bestselling novelist Victor Hallowell she jumps at the chance to escape the city. Madeline expects to find rest and quiet in the forests of Upstate New York. New York, 1949 After years of trying to break into New York City's literary scene, Madeline Slaughter is emotionally and physically exhausted. When a friend offers her a safe haven as the live-in companion to reclusive, bestselling novelist Victor Hallowell she jumps at the chance to escape the city. Madeline expects to find rest and quiet in the forests of Upstate New York. Instead, she finds Victor, handsome and intensely passionate, and Audrey Coffin, Victor's mysterious and beautiful neighbor. When Victor offers her a kiss and the promise of more Madeline allows herself to become entangled even as Audrey is also claiming her heart. The only problem is that Audrey and Victor are ex-lovers with plenty of baggage between them. As Madeline finds herself opening up and falling in love with both she starts to wonder, can there be a future for all three?

30 review for The Companion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wart Hill

    I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review First and foremost, I liked the vast majority of this book. The characters, the setting, the quiet beauty of the lives they chose to lead. Just. The pure fact that the only characters we actually see and get to know are trans. It was honestly refreshing, spending time with Madeline as she retreated from the city, getting to know Victor and Audrey as Madeline does, watching the relationships develop and play out. Overall, it was I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review First and foremost, I liked the vast majority of this book. The characters, the setting, the quiet beauty of the lives they chose to lead. Just. The pure fact that the only characters we actually see and get to know are trans. It was honestly refreshing, spending time with Madeline as she retreated from the city, getting to know Victor and Audrey as Madeline does, watching the relationships develop and play out. Overall, it was lovely. My issue, and there's only one, is entirely a personal thing and is not in and of itself a problem with the book. It is simply that the physical intimacy - kissing, sex, etc - began very quickly and I, in all my asexual strangeness, would personally have preferred some more development of characters and relationships first. That is not to say anything was rushed - truly it wasn't - I am simply the type of person who prefers to spend a good amount of time getting to know characters before the sex scenes. Ottoman has crafted a lovely story, brought to life a beautiful group of characters, and portrays trans people unapologetically living their lives at a time when people often forget we even existed. My own personal preferences regarding sex scenes aside, The Companion is a beautiful story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I received an advance copy from the author for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Content notes available in front matter of book. From the moment I heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it, and I’m so glad I was able to read it early! Madeline has been trying to make it in the writing scene in New York but when a friend tells her about Victor needing a companion, she moves in with him. While there she meets Audrey who works I received an advance copy from the author for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Content notes available in front matter of book. From the moment I heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it, and I’m so glad I was able to read it early! Madeline has been trying to make it in the writing scene in New York but when a friend tells her about Victor needing a companion, she moves in with him. While there she meets Audrey who works the land while Madeline was exploring the woods and Audrey was mushrooming. All three embark on a sweet polyamorous romance full of warmth and history. Audrey and Victor have a history where they used to be together, but Victor’s anxieties and the strain of being in the city eventually put pressures on their relationship that resulted in them splitting up. With the arrival of Madeline, and her interest in both Audrey and Victor, they redevelop their relationship in a new way that works better for where they are now. I really loved how sweet and soft this romance is. So much of it felt like walking through a sun-dappled forest path and I love the details. I also really love and appreciate how all three are trans, and while there’s mention of societal transmisia and queermisia, where they are they are able to be themselves safely and be together. In so many ways it felt like a warm hug, and all around I really enjoyed this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Teleseparatist

    A kind, affirming trans historical romance. I liked its genuine emotion and the focus on community (as small as that community is). I think I would have liked it to be longer and more sprawling - to connect the dots between events and emotional breakthroughs with more detail, and to give us more insight into all three characters - but that's a personal preference. The atmosphere and the nuance of setting were lovely, and I liked the characters - the information we do get about them often paints A kind, affirming trans historical romance. I liked its genuine emotion and the focus on community (as small as that community is). I think I would have liked it to be longer and more sprawling - to connect the dots between events and emotional breakthroughs with more detail, and to give us more insight into all three characters - but that's a personal preference. The atmosphere and the nuance of setting were lovely, and I liked the characters - the information we do get about them often paints a vivid picture even with few words.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lauren loves llamas

    Content warnings: (view spoiler)[period appropriate transphobia, homophobia and racism (some internalized), marijuana use (hide spoiler)] This book is the equivalent of drinking a hot cup of tea while sitting on a screened-in porch full of plants: it’s as cozy, gentle and relaxing as the cover suggests. Demoralized by the publishing industry in late 1940s New York City, Madeline accepts an invitation to be a companion for Victor in upstate New York. He’s a mystery writer who inherited a large hous Content warnings: (view spoiler)[period appropriate transphobia, homophobia and racism (some internalized), marijuana use (hide spoiler)] This book is the equivalent of drinking a hot cup of tea while sitting on a screened-in porch full of plants: it’s as cozy, gentle and relaxing as the cover suggests. Demoralized by the publishing industry in late 1940s New York City, Madeline accepts an invitation to be a companion for Victor in upstate New York. He’s a mystery writer who inherited a large house and enough money where he never has to leave it: he gets his groceries and newspaper delivered. But spending all day writing is lonely work, so Madeline, a frustrated writer herself, is supposed to (hopefully) be his friend. Victor is sweet, if a bit reclusive, and Madeline finds herself at loose ends. Wandering in the woods, she meets Audrey, the owner of the neighboring farm, who she’s deeply attracted to, though in a different way than she feels with Victor. Audrey and Victor have history, though, and it’s up to Madeline to figure out if she can have it all, or nothing. “He held out his hand to her and she stared at it for a beat before letting her own settle into his. His fingers curled around her longer ones, his grip warm and strong. “We look after each other.” He said. She so desperately wanted to live in a world where that was true.” The story is told solely from Madeline’s POV. Initially, she’s overwhelmed by the house and Victor’s kindness. Without set duties – besides her commitment to cook meals – she’s finally given the space to explore her writing, and with Audrey’s help, without the constraints of what’s publishable and will sell. It takes time for her to accept that she’s in a safe space, that she doesn’t have to hide or degrade herself to fit in. Madeline, herself a transgender woman, develops relationships with both Audrey, who’s also a transgender woman, and Victor, who’s a transgender man. I liked that Madeline understood that clear communication would be needed if she wanted to make her relationships with Audrey and Victor work out, and that she had the courage to state what she needed to feel comfortable and happy – and then make the others do so as well. The book is cozy in a very homey way. There’s lots of food, some of which sounds more appetizing (bread and butter sandwiches with tomato soup) than others (liver sandwiches). Madeline helps Audrey harvest produce from her farm and preserve it, including some truly delicious-sounding pears. The setting itself is very small: the book takes place at Victor’s house, Audrey’s farm, and the woods around them. But it’s big enough for the three of them, and most importantly they’re safe. This doesn’t negate their previous experiences in the outside world, nor does it stop Victor and Audrey from warning Madeline against going into the nearest town, but their spot in the woods is a safe space for all of them, and with Madeline’s help, a happy place. But even there, the world intrudes. At one point, Victor struggles with his publisher wanting him to use a female pen-name for his latest work, a horror story, to differentiate it from his mysteries and because the main character is female. The others are sympathetic, though, and help find a compromise. Overall, this was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Recommended for anyone looking for a queer historical hug of a book. I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    (German Review below!) I really liked this book! 4.5 stars It was a really calm and comfortable read with little conflict. Perfect for escaping the real world. I love reading books with trans people who get to be happy. While there are some references to trans-/queermisia and sexism, it is never on page and generally only talked about for short moments since the protagonists are all trans and already understand what it is like to be trans which allows them to find comfort and peace. Those types o (German Review below!) I really liked this book! 4.5 stars It was a really calm and comfortable read with little conflict. Perfect for escaping the real world. I love reading books with trans people who get to be happy. While there are some references to trans-/queermisia and sexism, it is never on page and generally only talked about for short moments since the protagonists are all trans and already understand what it is like to be trans which allows them to find comfort and peace. Those types of stories are exactly what I need sometimes. I'd have loved to read more of the book, maybe with more on page slow burn/mutual pining but I still enjoyed reading it a lot. While I didn't mind that too much because of the historical setting, some trans readers might not like that the pov character describes intimate anatomy as "sex" so I want to mention it in my review even though it is not really a criticism. But other than this minor endocissexist wording the period typical transmisia was never portrayed in a way that made the book itself transmisic. I am so glad books like this exist. Many thanks to EE Ottoman for the ARC. . Ich mochte das Buch sehr gern; die Atmosphäre, die Ottoman in diesem Buch aufbaut, ist angenehm ruhig und friedlich. Zwar gibt es durchaus Konflikte zwischen den Figuren, aber insgesamt ist alles eher „low angst“ und das Setting war für mich daher total gut geeignet, um eine Weile unserer Realität zu entfliehen. Die Figuren verweisen zwar immer wieder auf Erfahrungen mit Trans-, Queerfeindlichkeit und Sexismus, aber dadurch, dass alle drei Hauptpersonen trans sind, muss das nicht immer wieder explizit verhandelt werden, sondern sie können einfach ineinander und in ihrer Blase abseits der restlichen Welt Trost und Ruhe finden, was mir persönlich sehr gut getan hat. Manchmal dachte ich zwar, dass etwas mehr slow burn on page schön gewesen wäre, aber das war vor allem der Teil von mir, der mutual pining sehr gern liest und nichts dagegen gehabt hätte, wenn das Buch länger gewesen wäre. Da das Buch ein historisches Setting hat, verwenden die Figuren nicht die Sprache, die in der trans Community heute verbreitet ist; ich möchte darauf hinweisen, dass die erzählende Hauptperson an einigen Stellen intime Anatomie in Sexszenen als „sex“ bezeichnet. Während mich das in Contemporary Romance sehr stören würde, habe ich hier aber nur beim ersten Mal kurz gestockt, konnte dann aber gut weiterlesen, ohne dass es mein Lesevergnügen sonderlich beeinträchtigt hätte.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mashara

    This book exists on many levels. Primarily and most importantly this is a lovely book about a polyamorous threesome that find love in each other within the rural background of upstate New York at some point after the Second World War, 1949 to be precise. As such, it it sweet and sexy. The pinning is handled expertly and the tension between the three characters, specifically between Victor and Audrey, ex lovers, and the new comer Madelaine, who's POV the story is told from, is developed steadily an This book exists on many levels. Primarily and most importantly this is a lovely book about a polyamorous threesome that find love in each other within the rural background of upstate New York at some point after the Second World War, 1949 to be precise. As such, it it sweet and sexy. The pinning is handled expertly and the tension between the three characters, specifically between Victor and Audrey, ex lovers, and the new comer Madelaine, who's POV the story is told from, is developed steadily and without magic fixes. The arrival of Madelaine incorporates a fully new dynamic when she starts falling in love for both of them and opens up new possibilities to two people, that even when obviously loving each other, had completely lost the way to each other. In that way Madeline, her vulnerability, her need for care and acceptance and her unconditional love for both is the bridge between Audrey and Victor's otherwise unsurmountable positions. Loving Madeleine they find compromise, and once that is found, they find a way back to each other too. It is slow and not exactly melancholic, but definitely bucolic. These 3 people have found in each other all the company they require and their group might be small, but they have the experience to know that quality is most definitely better than quantity. Secondarily, this book is a line in the sand. A declaration. Of existence, of visibility. Of the right we all have as humans to exist, be respected, acknowledged and left to live our lives. I am good at being hurt and bad at being loved. Likely the most resonating quote of this book. Hurt will makes shield ourselves, to the point in which we might no longer know how to react to kindness or love. This is the true danger, that in people's mistreatment of others they break something fundamentally human, our love for ourselves. Ottoman waves the story of these characters, who are trans and as much as it has been very difficult, they are not broken, they are whole, they laugh, they love, have sex on the page, because they want to, and because they are super horny for each other, and it's hot. Romance is hope and is healing. And their happy ending is a act of resistance. Because fundamentally being happy is the biggest act of rebellion, revolution and resistance than a targeted community can fling in the face of those who aim to obliterate them from the face of the earth.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emmalita

    I joke sometimes that I wish I could turn into my great grandmother with her big kitchen table at which she turned produce into preserves with such competence. EE Ottoman’s The Companion is really tapping into that desire. It’s also reminding me that Granny canned fruits and vegetables so that her family would have enough to eat, not because she thought it was fun. Set in 1949, Madeline Slaughter is on her way to a small town in up-state New York, exhausted and demoralized from trying to make a c I joke sometimes that I wish I could turn into my great grandmother with her big kitchen table at which she turned produce into preserves with such competence. EE Ottoman’s The Companion is really tapping into that desire. It’s also reminding me that Granny canned fruits and vegetables so that her family would have enough to eat, not because she thought it was fun. Set in 1949, Madeline Slaughter is on her way to a small town in up-state New York, exhausted and demoralized from trying to make a career as a writer in New York City. A friend has arranged for her to be a companion to a reclusive mystery writer, Victor. It sounds a little bit like a set up for a gothic romance, but it is not. Victor is kind and gives Madeline space and time to recover. Out walking in the woods, Madeline meets Audrey, a woman like her. Madeline builds relationships with Victor and Audrey and as she grows more secure in her safety, the urge to write returns. The process of going from an unsafe place to a safe place is it’s own kind of pain, and Ottoman allows Madeline to move through that pain with compassion. Victor and Audrey have both experienced it as well and give Madeline the grace she needs to go through it. “I am good at being hurt and bad at being loved.” The Companion is a gentle story. Madeline, Victor, and Audrey build a life where they are safe to be themselves. The world of the story is small, three characters, two houses and the field and forest next to them. The smallness is a bubble of safety for the three characters – all trans. Their lives though are vast and rich in imagination – all are artists. The details of the food that Madeline prepares and that she and Audrey preserve, the details of the texture of their clothing, the light, and the scents around them give a sense of sanctuary rather than restriction. As lyrical as The Companion is, Ottoman does not neglect the moments of humor. I don’t usually comment on the cover of a book, but in this case, I have to say, the interior is as beautiful as the exterior. I received this as an advance reader copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelleen Moriarty

    Hmmmm. It's possible I misunderstood this book. I really enjoyed it the whole time I was reading it. E.E. Ottoman's prose is fantastic, and the story itself is a tender, quiet, and really lovely romance between 3 trans characters. It's told from a single POV, that of Madeline, the companion who escapes from NYC into the safety of the farmland to live with Victor and meets his neighbor/ex-lover Audrey, whom she also falls for. There was very little attraction written into her POV, so the kissing/ Hmmmm. It's possible I misunderstood this book. I really enjoyed it the whole time I was reading it. E.E. Ottoman's prose is fantastic, and the story itself is a tender, quiet, and really lovely romance between 3 trans characters. It's told from a single POV, that of Madeline, the companion who escapes from NYC into the safety of the farmland to live with Victor and meets his neighbor/ex-lover Audrey, whom she also falls for. There was very little attraction written into her POV, so the kissing/sexiness sort of caught be off guard, but once we were in it it was very enjoyable. Both Madeline and Audrey were very vivid and complex characters, though I felt like Victor was less dimensional. The plot itself was a little bit of a meandering walk through the woods, but that was all safe, cozy, and low-angst and the descriptions were beautiful. The thing that I'm really stuck on with this book is that it didn't feel finished. I got to the end and I turned the page looking for the next chapter. I don't think these characters are all together and in loved and happy at the end of this book, which I think was the point? It's very clear that Madeline is secure in her respective relationships with Victor and Audrey, but by the end, Audrey and Victor have not worked through their problems and they haven't declared themselves to be a triad. It just didn't feel like an HEA, it felt more like a sexy snapshot of these three lives together. I'm not sure that anyone grew substantially or anyone is in love with anyone or that these three people will live together as a team. Maybe that wasn't the point? I thought I was reading a ménage. I don’t think that’s what this was. Maybe that’s not what it was supposed to be? I don't know.

  9. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    This is a remarkable romance between two trans women, one trans man, and a place of safety. That's the part that hits hardest. All three have fled to the country after New York's art scene proved too hostile and unwelcoming, its people exploitative and predatory. Madeline is hurting, afraid, and unable to write when she decides to become Victor's companion in his isolated home. The tiny society of love, sex, friendship, and real acceptance they build together and with Audrey next door allows her This is a remarkable romance between two trans women, one trans man, and a place of safety. That's the part that hits hardest. All three have fled to the country after New York's art scene proved too hostile and unwelcoming, its people exploitative and predatory. Madeline is hurting, afraid, and unable to write when she decides to become Victor's companion in his isolated home. The tiny society of love, sex, friendship, and real acceptance they build together and with Audrey next door allows her to start living and creating, and it's glorious. This is very much a book about healing, which can't happen till people stop stabbing you. It's faintly melancholy in the recognition that the outer world is brutally hostile, but the power of the world they build for themselves is also palpable. The romance isn't conflict driven--we have three very hurt people here. (Victor says, "I am good at being hurt and bad at being loved." Ooof.) Instead this is very much a story of repair and regrowth, and learning to believe you can have happiness, in whatever shape fits you. And if that's not the essence of romance, I don't know what is.

  10. 4 out of 5

    C. A.

    4.5 stars. A sweet, poignant story about three people coming together in the refuge they've built for themselves, away from the wider, crueler world. Set in 1948, the story follows Madeline, a writer who’s burnt out from trying to make a career of it in New York City. On the advice of her friend, she moves in with Victor, a recluse in upstate New York, who offers his home as a place to get away from the stress of the city in exchange for Madeline’s company. Victor has a neighbor, Audrey, an arti 4.5 stars. A sweet, poignant story about three people coming together in the refuge they've built for themselves, away from the wider, crueler world. Set in 1948, the story follows Madeline, a writer who’s burnt out from trying to make a career of it in New York City. On the advice of her friend, she moves in with Victor, a recluse in upstate New York, who offers his home as a place to get away from the stress of the city in exchange for Madeline’s company. Victor has a neighbor, Audrey, an artist with fewer fucks to give than Victor or Madeline combined, though she too escaped the city for the solitude of her rambling farmhouse. All three characters are trans. All three fall in love (or back in love, as the case may be) with each other, and there is so much careful tenderness in this story I could overlook the bits where the writing was a little clunky. I do wish it had been a bit longer, because I would’ve liked to see Madeline’s relationships with Victor and Audrey develop in a little more detail. Even so, the happily ever after felt believable to me, and deserved, and it made this story such a cozy, sweet read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I've been excited for this once ever since seeing the gorgeous cover. This was a very gentle, calming sort of read. The writing was strikingly lovely and the whole thing just had a sort of atmosphere to it that I really enjoyed. I sometimes tend to skip over descriptions of setting, because I have a hard time visualizing it, but the setting really came alive here. It almost felt like another character in the story. I loved all the smells and sounds and small details that made it so evocative. So I've been excited for this once ever since seeing the gorgeous cover. This was a very gentle, calming sort of read. The writing was strikingly lovely and the whole thing just had a sort of atmosphere to it that I really enjoyed. I sometimes tend to skip over descriptions of setting, because I have a hard time visualizing it, but the setting really came alive here. It almost felt like another character in the story. I loved all the smells and sounds and small details that made it so evocative. Something about the writing just made it easy to slip into the world of the story. I also loved all the food descriptions! The characters were interesting and nuanced and the complications of their relationships were explored in what felt like a really realistic way. I think I'd personally have loved a little bit more of a slow burn, just because I like to see how characters navigate that sort of building tension, but I did appreciate the complex layers of feeling between the characters. *I received a free ARC of this book, but all opinions are my own*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joharis

    YouTube Instagram Twitter Thank you so much to the author for providing a review copy in exchange of an honest review. 4.5 A polyamourous romance with 3 transgender characters?! This story was just lovely and delightful, it was compelling in such a quiet way that I had reached the end before I knew it. We follow a writer that moves in with another writer in the countryside and starts to develop feelings for him, while also falling for said writer's ex girlfriend. It's a story about finding yourself YouTube Instagram Twitter Thank you so much to the author for providing a review copy in exchange of an honest review. 4.5 A polyamourous romance with 3 transgender characters?! This story was just lovely and delightful, it was compelling in such a quiet way that I had reached the end before I knew it. We follow a writer that moves in with another writer in the countryside and starts to develop feelings for him, while also falling for said writer's ex girlfriend. It's a story about finding yourself and rekindling that love for your art, it follows the protagonist as they explore the woods and just enjoy their surroundings. The atmosphere of this book was brilliant and I could visualize everything so perfectly. The romance is very low conflict and very steamy, I loved it! The scenes were amazing and they were so sweet with each other. Highly recommend it!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    MK

    Quick and enjoyable romance novella with a slice of life happy ending poly ship of three trans MCs. Audrey and Victor’s history together and ex status makes their coming together for Madeline all the steamier and more interesting. This was def one of the best portrayals of poly relationships I’ve been able to find on the page—they just seem so disappointingly rare! Ottoman delivers, with this trio providing support, communication, and love to one another. This isn’t a conflict driven romance, bu Quick and enjoyable romance novella with a slice of life happy ending poly ship of three trans MCs. Audrey and Victor’s history together and ex status makes their coming together for Madeline all the steamier and more interesting. This was def one of the best portrayals of poly relationships I’ve been able to find on the page—they just seem so disappointingly rare! Ottoman delivers, with this trio providing support, communication, and love to one another. This isn’t a conflict driven romance, but instead three hurt and healing people trying to figure out how to love each other best. The brief format means you’re not getting as much insight on character history as you might otherwise, and I would give my kingdom for a sequel, but it is a satisfying and self contained story. There’s some editing errors that took me out of the story a time or too, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from this hug of a read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kara Jorgensen

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don't know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I enjoyed it enough to read it in one day. At the same time, I felt it lacked the emotional depth/intimacy I like in romance. Often, I felt like we only get the surface of Madeline's thoughts and feeling, which made several moments of sudden intimacy confusing for me. This might also be because I'm asexual and rely on emotional intimacy to bridge to physical intimacy. At times, a I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don't know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I enjoyed it enough to read it in one day. At the same time, I felt it lacked the emotional depth/intimacy I like in romance. Often, I felt like we only get the surface of Madeline's thoughts and feeling, which made several moments of sudden intimacy confusing for me. This might also be because I'm asexual and rely on emotional intimacy to bridge to physical intimacy. At times, apart from being trans and having traveled through NYC literary circles, I didn't get what the connection was between the characters. What I did enjoy was the effortlessness of the physical intimacy and the way the trans representation was handled, especially in a historical setting. E.E. Ottoman is really great with setting, so the texture of their world was lovely, as always.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ru

    This is one of my favourite books of the year so far for a lot of reasons. Firstly, the writing is fantastic. The descriptions, of both the environment and the characters, were vivid and lyrical, giving depth to the atmosphere and emotions. I really loved the various characterisations - the way that they work alone and in their various relationships, the way that they are all shown to grow and develop but remain the core of who they are. I thought this was especially impressive by coming through This is one of my favourite books of the year so far for a lot of reasons. Firstly, the writing is fantastic. The descriptions, of both the environment and the characters, were vivid and lyrical, giving depth to the atmosphere and emotions. I really loved the various characterisations - the way that they work alone and in their various relationships, the way that they are all shown to grow and develop but remain the core of who they are. I thought this was especially impressive by coming through one single perspective. The polyamory negotiations and development worked so well for me, it was one where it felt both natural and perfect, where it emphasised the theme of how different relationships can work and find balance in a variety of ways, and find beauty in that variety. And wow, the whole book was so very hot! The sense of community was another big highlight for me. A nd the power of hope. Such a beautiful, thoughtful, sexy book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kylee Ehmann

    I adored this book. It's one of those reads that feels like being wrapped up in a good hug or what a good perfectly warm cup of tea tastes like. I love stories where the tension comes from people growing together to be their best and most authentic selves, and The Companion has this in spades. It's a low-conflict kind of novel, there are no third-act breakups or dramatic declarations of love. Three trans people come together and create a world of their own, one where they are safe and loved and I adored this book. It's one of those reads that feels like being wrapped up in a good hug or what a good perfectly warm cup of tea tastes like. I love stories where the tension comes from people growing together to be their best and most authentic selves, and The Companion has this in spades. It's a low-conflict kind of novel, there are no third-act breakups or dramatic declarations of love. Three trans people come together and create a world of their own, one where they are safe and loved and able to pursue their wants and desires in the way that they want to. I loved the metaphor of knots being unraveled as Madeline heals with her lovers, and they heal together too, all in the safety of their own world. It's romantic and sexy and faintly melancholy and ultimately hopeful. Beautiful all around and probably my favorite of Ottoman's works.

  17. 4 out of 5

    N.G. Peltier

    This book was both sweet and steamy. I believe this is my first trans book with an all trans trio (two trans women and a trans man) written by a trans author. I loved how the relationships were portrayed. We get to see Victor and Madeline's growing, and Madeline and Audrey's budding over time. Then we see how all three come together. Victor and Audrey have a past where they used to be in a relationship so things are a bit awkward between them when Madeline comes into the picture but they eventual This book was both sweet and steamy. I believe this is my first trans book with an all trans trio (two trans women and a trans man) written by a trans author. I loved how the relationships were portrayed. We get to see Victor and Madeline's growing, and Madeline and Audrey's budding over time. Then we see how all three come together. Victor and Audrey have a past where they used to be in a relationship so things are a bit awkward between them when Madeline comes into the picture but they eventually it works out :) I did enjoy the scenes that portrays Madeline with both Victor and Audrey but the ones with Madeline and Audrey just had this really soft, cottagecore vibe? With Audrey making her jams and such. So if you're looking for some softness with some steam too I'd rec this one!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    TW: Brief references to rape culture, sexual exploitation of trans women, attempted sexual coercion of trans women. Brief references to trans people feeling unsafe being in certain spaces or walking alone and trans people warning each other of unsafe spaces. Discussions of internalized transphobia, sexual shame, and issues of self-worth. It depicts sexually open relationships and multiple explicit consensual sex scenes. It includes a scene where the characters smoke weed. Finally, it includes pe TW: Brief references to rape culture, sexual exploitation of trans women, attempted sexual coercion of trans women. Brief references to trans people feeling unsafe being in certain spaces or walking alone and trans people warning each other of unsafe spaces. Discussions of internalized transphobia, sexual shame, and issues of self-worth. It depicts sexually open relationships and multiple explicit consensual sex scenes. It includes a scene where the characters smoke weed. Finally, it includes period typical transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and very brief period typical language for gendered body parts. A big shout-out to the author for including trigger warnings in his book! RTC but please know I absolutely adored this!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tigerbeats

    For the sake of transparency, I read this as an ARC. This is a polyamorous trans romance and I really enjoyed this story and the characters. I had just finished a deep dive into mid-20th century publishing, so reading about Madeline and Victor's writing escapades in upstate New York was the perfect escape. The setting is gentle and safe (both the woods and the homes are beautifully described), the characters care deeply for one another and even the tensions between the characters are loving. As a For the sake of transparency, I read this as an ARC. This is a polyamorous trans romance and I really enjoyed this story and the characters. I had just finished a deep dive into mid-20th century publishing, so reading about Madeline and Victor's writing escapades in upstate New York was the perfect escape. The setting is gentle and safe (both the woods and the homes are beautifully described), the characters care deeply for one another and even the tensions between the characters are loving. As a queer person, I really enjoyed the comfort of this novel. No one dies, no one is irrevocably harmed (although I appreciated the trigger warnings), and the sex scenes are steamy and sweet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    The Companion was quite sweet overall. I liked the opening chapter and the descriptions of the house, the porch,and the forest were really lovely. I also liked the details that went into the clothing and the food preparation. Madeline, Audrey, and Victor were sympathetic characters and I thought their dynamic worked well. I thought Madeline pursued Victor and Audrey a little quickly, but I was also a little confused on how much time passed during the novel, so my perception of the relationships The Companion was quite sweet overall. I liked the opening chapter and the descriptions of the house, the porch,and the forest were really lovely. I also liked the details that went into the clothing and the food preparation. Madeline, Audrey, and Victor were sympathetic characters and I thought their dynamic worked well. I thought Madeline pursued Victor and Audrey a little quickly, but I was also a little confused on how much time passed during the novel, so my perception of the relationships may be affected by that. Edited to add: the cover art is also quite lovely.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Laumone

    I really enjoyed this story. This is the third I've read from the author, and each time I'm swept away by his ability to fully immerse the reader in the setting. This was such a relaxing, balm for the soul kind of read. The countryside setting, the kindness and understanding of the two people our heroine meets and falls for...just lovely. I loved all the details of the food they ate and the gardening/canning and other such activities. I really enjoyed this story. This is the third I've read from the author, and each time I'm swept away by his ability to fully immerse the reader in the setting. This was such a relaxing, balm for the soul kind of read. The countryside setting, the kindness and understanding of the two people our heroine meets and falls for...just lovely. I loved all the details of the food they ate and the gardening/canning and other such activities.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Dean

    Such a nice book to curl up with on a warm day. Everything felt so vivid and lush, as if I was really there exploring this lovely corner of the world along with Madeline. So nice to read a book with an all trans cast and sex scenes that are also very gender affirming and pleasurable. As a trans person, it meant a lot to me to be represented in this kind of way. Recommending to anyone who is trans and just wants a book that offers so much in a little novella!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rana

    Oh god, I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did. It read "old", as in, little motivation and character building was given. It's something that I see when I read older novels, from around the same time period as this story was actually set. There is little depth to characters, it's more about mood and impressions. And that's just not who I am as a reader, unfortunately. Oh god, I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did. It read "old", as in, little motivation and character building was given. It's something that I see when I read older novels, from around the same time period as this story was actually set. There is little depth to characters, it's more about mood and impressions. And that's just not who I am as a reader, unfortunately.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)

    First, I want to say that I am not a member of the trans community and cannot speak to whether this is accurate to the trans experience. However, it felt authentic and lovely to me, so I hope it is accurate. I would hate to like something so much that isn’t a good representation. Second, just absolutely lovely...and pretty damn high on the spice meter.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Candy

    I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Light on plot but rich in mood, this book took me along for sweet, meandering ride through a gentle forest. Soft, melodic, and entrancing. I feel like it would be perfect for a long summer afternoon in the shade.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gargee | Sapphire Bubble

    Not quite sure what to rate this one yet, but definitely 4+ stars. This was such a sweet and sublime story. So open and vulnerable, shrouded in desire and love. I loved it so much. Full review to come.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shivani Seth

    I literally don't know how to talk about this book better than I did in my review, so just go read it there. Its utterly amazing. https://notjustabuzzword.com/2021/04/... I literally don't know how to talk about this book better than I did in my review, so just go read it there. Its utterly amazing. https://notjustabuzzword.com/2021/04/...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Theo

    update I flew through the whole book today but I loved it so much! it's so hard to find good books with trans rep to begin with, and the fact that this was also polyam was so!!!! this was a wonderful story and im glad I had the chance to read it :] update I flew through the whole book today but I loved it so much! it's so hard to find good books with trans rep to begin with, and the fact that this was also polyam was so!!!! this was a wonderful story and im glad I had the chance to read it :]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Moon

    this just came out today and it's a polyamorous m/f/f historical romance where all the MCs are trans!!! so excited to dive in 🥰 this just came out today and it's a polyamorous m/f/f historical romance where all the MCs are trans!!! so excited to dive in 🥰

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Really liked liked it. and of course it made me cry.

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