Book Title: The Moonstone Girls
Author: Brooke Skipstone
Publisher: Skipstone Publishing
Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman
Release Date: Feb 14, 2022
Genre: Historical (1967/68) F/F romance
Themes: Coming out, Rejection, Forgiveness
“The story is full of drama, heartache, humor, and hope, set against the backdrop of the late ’60s—the Vietnam War and the draft, racial prejudice, homophobia, and a revolution in music.”
Queer rep: lesbian main character, lesbian and gay side characters
Trigger Warnings: homophobia, internalized homophobia, slurs, death, suicide, car accident, insensitive language/jokes, PTSD.
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 103 500 words/ 338 pages
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US | Amazon UK
In 1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy.
Tracy should have been a boy. Even her older brother Spencer says so, though he wouldn’t finish the thought with, “And I should have been a girl.”
Though both feel awkward in their own skin, they have to face who they are—queers in the late 60s.
When both are caught with gay partners, their lives and futures are endangered by their homophobic father as their mother struggles to defend them.
While the Vietnam War threatens to take Spencer away, Tracy and her father wage a war of their own, each trying to save the sweet, talented pianist.
At seventeen, Tracy dresses as a boy and leaves her parents in turmoil, with only the slimmest hope of finding peace within herself. She journeys to a girl with a guitar, calling to her from a photo, “Come to Alaska. We’d be great friends.”
Maybe even The MoonStone Girls.
Hours later, after I’d practiced piano, had a few arguments about the war at dinner, and listened to complaints from Mom about Spencer’s continued absence, I slipped into my pajamas and tried to stay awake, listening to “19th Nervous Breakdown” from the Stones’ Big Hits album.
Something stumbled against my door. I heard Spencer cuss. I ran to the door and yanked it open just as my very drunk brother rapped his knuckles against the air.
“Whoa,” he said. “Where’d the door go? Hey, Sis.”
He wobbled just outside my room with a lopsided grin on his face then put his finger to his lips. “Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m drunk.” He giggled.
“No shit.” I put his arm over my shoulder and turned him around. “Let’s get you to bed.”
“Whaa . . . No.” He jerked his arm away and banged it into the wall. “Ouch. Why’d you hit me?”
“You hit the wall, Spencer. Get to bed before you wake up Mom and Dad.”
He put his hands on my shoulders and his face an inch from mine. “You need to meet Pablo. He’s outside.”
“He drove you home?”
“Yeah. He thought I was too drunk to drive.” He breathed and giggled. “He’s a really nice guy. We had a good time.”
I laughed, trying not to pass out from the alcohol fumes. “Evidently.” I had never seen Spencer drunk. Dad would let us drink wine at dinner sometimes. Maybe share a beer between us. But Spencer was never that interested. Probably because Dad said a man’s got to learn how to hold his liquor. “What did you drink?”
His eyes crossed. “Tequila. Oh, that’s the best. From itsy bitsy glasses.”
“A shot glass?”
He held his hand like a pistol. “Bang. Bang. Shot after shot. C’mon, you need to meet him.”
I helped him down the stairs. He tiptoed to the foyer then grabbed the front door handle. Red lights flashed through the glass at the top of the door.
“Cops?” I helped him open the door, and we both stared at a policeman with his foot on the back of a young man, spread-eagled in our yard.
“Don’t you move, son,” yelled the officer.
Spencer’s eyes bulged as he screamed, “What are you doing?” He ran toward the officer.
Somebody’s going to get shot! I followed. “Spencer! Stop!”
“He’s my friend!” He pushed the cop nearly to the ground then bent down to help Pablo.
I ran to the officer whose hand moved toward his holster. “That’s my brother’s friend. He drove my brother home and was waiting to meet me.” I stood between him and the boys, holding my arms up, gasping for breath.
The man looked at me. “You live here?”
“Yes, with Spencer and my parents.”
Pablo was on his knees crying. “I thought he was going to kill me.”
Spencer knelt and pulled Pablo to his chest. “You’re safe. You’re safe.” He bent down to pick up Pablo’s white beret, brushed it off, and set it on his head.
Pablo was thin and shorter than Spencer. His mouth hung open as he gasped for breath; his face was wet with tears.
Spencer clutched the boy against his chest and glared at the cop. “What did he do?”
“He was a Mexican outside our house at midnight,” I said. “Right, Officer?”
The man tightened his eyes at me. “I’ve never seen him in this neighborhood. He looked suspicious.”
“Suspiciously brown?” I barked.
“That’s enough, Tracy,” said Dad, tying his robe, as he strode down our walkway. “I’m Arthur Franks. This is my house. Did the boy do anything wrong?”
“He looked like he was trying to get inside that car, and I knew it wasn’t his.”
Pablo’s voice cracked. “I wanted my cigarettes. I just wanted to smoke a cigarette. ¿Qué carajo?”
I hoped the cop didn’t speak Spanish because Pablo had just said “What the fuck?”
“Are we done?” I asked.
The officer rested his hand on his pistol. “You sure you want this kid in your yard, Mr. Franks?”
“No, I’m not, but he’ll be gone soon. We’ll take it from here, Officer.”
“Okay, but if you need anything, just call dispatch. I can be back here quick.” He shot Pablo one last glare before sliding into his Castle Hills patrol car and drove away.
“Where have you been, Spencer?” Dad growled. “And do I smell alcohol on you?”
“If your nose works,” Spencer giggled. “We stayed at Dr. Sorel’s for a while then went to Pablo’s cousin’s house. I think I had one too many shots of tequila.” He giggled again.
“Maybe two too many,” laughed Pablo with a thick accent.
“You said tutu!” Spencer laughed.
“No, I said two too,” laughed Pablo as he playfully patted Spencer’s face.
“Jesus,” Dad muttered as he folded his arms and glared at the two boys.
About the Author
Brooke Skipstone is a multi-award winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.
The MoonStone Girls is her fourth novel. Visit her website at brookeskipstone.com for information about her first three novels—Crystal’s House of Queers, Some Laneys Died, and Someone To Kiss My Scars.
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