Originally published by Naiad Press, 1983, latest reprinting by Bella Books, 2011, 170 pages, paperback and Kindle, ISBN-10: 1594932557 ISBN-13: 978-1594932557
Curious Wine is a fiction novel in the genre of lesbian romance. The story follows seven women and their interactions mostly centered in a Lake Tahoe cabin. The story’s main character, Diana Holland drove up from Los Angeles with her friend and coworker, Vivian. Vivian opts to stay at a casino in town to gamble and be with her boy toy, whereas the six women must manage their interactions in the snow covered cabin.
Diana’s attention is captured by a tall blonde woman, Lane Christianson, who stands out from the rest of the cabin occupants. Since Diana and Lane were the last to arrive and the cabin rules dictate that they had to sleep in the loft where there is no easily accessible rest room and their luggage must be hauled up the ladder. With the option of a queen sized bed with a large window or a narrow room with twin beds, the ladies decide to share the larger bed and view.
One evening, the six women begin a variety of encounter games that involve such things as trust, describing each other with one word, exploring a partner’s face with their eyes closed and picking an animal that represents each participant. The game moves from saying something nice about an individual to suggestions about what the other’s felt each woman should change. This early morning exchange leads to hurt feelings among the women. Diana is upset and begins to cry once she is in the safety of the loft. Lane comforts Diana by holding her and eventually they begin to kiss.
The next day, Diana is confused by this intense attraction and the feelings that she had felt the night before in Lane’s arms. She keeps reminding herself that she had never been attracted to a woman before. She tests herself by looking at the women around her at the casino and found herself free of any attraction, she chalks the experience up to too much wine.
Diana had recently ended a relationship with a man named Jack and part of the reasoning behind going to Tahoe was to get away from everything. She finds herself making a lot of comparisons between Jack and Lane. She tells herself that in a few days she will be at home, away from this woman and the strange eroticism that courses through her. A subsequent encounter between the women ends abruptly with Diana’s trepidation.
This is a beautiful story about two women that find comfort in the arms of each other and explore what that means to them. It is a fun and sexy read.
What I liked about the book is that I found it in my local library and was able to check it out as an electronic book via Amazon. I had read this book shortly after it was originally published and I was captivated. Now, it has been thirty-three years and it is still quite a gem and remains a lesbian classic.
Katherine V. Forrest has three science fiction books in the Daughters of a Coral Dawn series and nine in the police detective, Kate Delafield Mystery series. Many of these novels have received the Lambda Literary Award or were a finalist in the competition. She has a few other books outside of these two series.
T K Asunali