MtSnow reviews ‘And Then There Were Three: Sixty-Seven Letters To Sasha’ by Julia G Fox. Indie published by Dog Ear Publishing on September 15, 2015, 116 pages.
Why I read this book: This week was ‘Pushing Boundaries’ week, and I saw this book, which included a relationship with a woman. It also isn’t technically a romance, but more of a non-fiction biography. It ends up it is an autobiographical memoir in the format of individual short letters to one of the three from the woman in a polyamorous relationship with two men. I haven’t read anything that included a female character as the main protagonist for years, so thought I’d push my boundaries and see how I felt. It ended up being very much worthy of a review.
Note: a copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review.
BLURB: When gay marriage was legalized in the United States on June 26, 2015, it appeared as though the last major hurdle for LGBT rights was finally overcome. While this is a major milestone in the journey for equal rights, there is still a long way to go before global tolerance can be achieved.
Julie Fox’s autobiographical memoir, And Then There Were Three: Sixty-Seven Letters to Sasha, documents the challenges that still face members of the LGBT community, especially those in countries where being homosexual is still considered an abnormality. In a moving collection of letters to the man who opened her eyes to a new perspective on love and tolerance, Fox gives readers an honest look into her experiences with a less traditional type of relationship. In this poetic memoir, Fox chronicles the reunion of her husband, George, with his former lover from college, Sasha–a man living a double life in a culture where his homosexuality could result in imprisonment or worse. As Sasha enters their life, both husband and wife must learn to navigate and explore the challenges and complexities of a polyamorous reality together against a backdrop of cultural and societal expectations and judgments.
Presented as a collection of letters, And Then There Were Three: Sixty-Seven Letters to Sasha is an intensely personal reflection that examines and questions the dynamic and often challenging elements of marriage, relationships, and acceptance, as well as the nature of love itself.
Since when are you so passionate about gay rights in Ukraine?” I raised my eyebrow, sipping coffee from George’s enormous white mug.
“I loved one.” George looked up from the magazine.”
Okay, so I haven’t read anything including a female main character for quite a while, but something about the poignancy of the blurb as well as the artistically painted front cover was hard for me to pass up. As many of the readers in the MM Romance genre statistically are more ‘straight’ women, I thought this would be enlightening subject matter as the author is writing from her memories of a relationship that included her husband’s former male lover as well as herself. How many of us have wondered if there were any possibilities of a woman being included wholeheartedly in a relationship with two male lovers. Or does this end up being a case where they are actually ‘bi’. Or is she actually only on the outside looking in?
The cover was artistic, and as you may well know from my comments in other reviews, I think it’s refreshing to have something different than the sea of naked torsos we end up seeing so much of in this genre. I’ve never read this author before, but I was very moved by the intimacy of her thoughts, and found myself engaged very much into her world. The letters are almost sporadic in nature at times. And at others, they are long, thought out memories with such minute details as to make me feel as if I was her. I even began to fall in love with Sasha a bit myself by the end.
The fact that we are given a glimpse into other cultures and their historical ostracization of homosexuality and denial of its existence, even forcing the protagonist to go into denial himself while he has a life in his home country, well, it made me think of Vadim in Voinov’s Special Forces, and Laurie in Mary Renault’s The Charioteer. There was definitely a melancholy about the reminiscing. But I really felt the memoir touched me deeply.
The letters give us, the reader, a beautiful glimpse of what it means to love and be loved, as well as the pain and maturity that must go with it. I’m not usually a reader of non-fiction, but this author’s platform on continuing the fight for the LGBTQ person’s right to be true to themselves, and the psychological damage that can happen if society continues to force them to ignore this integral part of themselves very much spoke to my heart. Highly recommended, and a very educational and enlightening read.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars.
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Having immigrated from Russia in my late teens, I settled in the United States in the early ’90s and graduated with master’s degree in psychology from a university in California. I published two books of poetry before leaving my home country, both in the Russian language. I self-published a book of poetry in English a few years ago.