Book Review: Passing Strange

A sapphic historical romance that ALSO has magic?? You bet I scrambled to pick this one up as soon as possible.

Six women come together in 1940s San Francisco, united by a common love that society doesn’t understand. Together they explore a world of art, magic, chance, and ultimately, romance. 

I absolutely ATE THIS BOOK UP. For starters, all of the scenery is described so, so beautifully, which I guess makes sense given that one of the main characters is an artist. It really felt like I was looking into a painting. I don’t usually like long descriptive passages, but every single image was rendered in such gorgeous detail. 

Although the blurb claims that there are 6 main characters, I only saw three: Helen, Haskel, and Emily. I loved the romance, and this is another book that I so wish had a sequel where we could follow it further. I will say that this was also a tough read at times, as the way that LGBTQ+ people and POC were treated in this period was absolutely horrible. There’s a very big focus on how these communities had to “sell” themselves as entertainment in order to survive in society (I really want to emphasize the content warnings for racism/homophobia here so that nobody goes into this not knowing what to expect). 

While I was absolutely in love with the MCs and the way the story was written, especially for this being such a quick read, I was a little disappointed with the magic incorporation. It was kind of tossed in at the beginning and end, with little reference or importance throughout the middle. I think if the story had been expanded, the central conflict could have had more of a build up, and the magic could’ve been integrated better. 

But really, I very much enjoyed this. It had a very relaxing pace, but also brought up some really difficult topics in history. And of course, the romance was the best part. 

On a final note, I’d like to offer a disclaimer. This work takes place in the 1940s, and focuses on a couple of marginalized groups. There are a lot of stereotypes/slurs both used and discussed with the characters. In this review I aimed to evaluate how enjoyable the story and writing was, but I am in no way qualified to speak to the sensitivity or historical accuracy in how these communities were represented. I ask that if anyone has read this book and feels that it offers harmful representation, PLEASE don’t hesitate to let me know. 

Happy reading!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 3.5/5
Pace: Slow (but in a good way)
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: abuse (partner and parental), homophobia, slurs, sexual assault, mentions of terminal illness, suicide 

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: favorite underrated book

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Passing Strange

  1. Great review! It doesn’t sound like something I’d usually read, but I always like to try and branch out and read different things. Definitely need to give this a try!

    Like

  2. This book sounds so good, It’s already on my TBR 🙂 Even though you said you were disappointed with the magic incorporation, it still sounds like an awesome book!

    Like

  3. This sounds really interesting and I appreciate the trigger warnings! 🙂 However thats disappointing to hear the magic wasn’t given more pages. However I love historical romances so I’ll have to check this out!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s