It all started on a Friday night in ROYAL BLU. A simple start to the weekend that begins DJ Royal and her three closest friends on a long, wild expedition to love and drama.
Bold, italics, and underline on the drama.
Taking center stage in author Feral Kitty’s debut novel is Royal Ann Hanson, a 27-year old DJ still living at home with her grandparents and her 11-year-old daughter from a teenage relationship. With beautiful golden brown skin, slim athletic frame and long brown cornrows, she’s a magnet for the ladies, straight or lesbian, attached or single. While she may use them for what they offer, she also knows she’s not ready for a real relationship. Royal is content with life, her friends, her car (a vintage candy-apple red 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville), and her job at Club BLU, but recognizes that she needs a true equal; and she finds a worthy opponent in Asia, her best friend’s roommate.
Despite their age difference, Royal and 20-year-old Tiana are best friends, and Ti looks to Royal as a role model of sorts; her own stud swagger is owed to watching Royal’s antics. Her come-ons pay off on that fated Friday night when Ti has an affair with someone outside the stud-femme box, but Ti worries more about what her best friend will think instead of letting herself fall.
KC, though, fell for the completely wrong woman, and everyone knows it. Her girlfriend, Ebony, is too rowdy for this white butch lesbian, who’s always had a thing for sistahs. Her friends want her leave Ebony’s melodramatics behind and see past her fighting, cheating, and abusive ways. On some level, KC is waiting for the love she longs for from Ebony. Yet how long to is too love to love yourself?
Paul, owner of Club BLU, is the older voice of reason in the foursome. In a 17-year relationship with wife Candi, they find raising a daughter working full time doesn’t allow much time for romance. Paul stays true to their love, but that’s not to say temptations don’t find her every now and again.
Royal BLU is, on one level, an entertaining, comical novel that you can’t put down. On another, it needs a lot of polishing – with punctuation and grammar especially – to make it a great novel. The characters were a hot mess a times, but truth be told, we all know people like them (or at least I did in my 20s). In its favor, Royal BLU brings up a few issues in our community about labels and slut-shaming that are important, and also shows flaws from both sides of the femme-stud dynamic.
All in all, I’m looking forward to what this Kitty brings next.
Reviewed April 2013