Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood

4 stars

What a fun and endearing story this was. 


Henry is a university lecturer. He is a typical academic in that his social life is dull, he dresses neatly and is very wrapped up in his routines. He doesn't have a partner and his last girlfriend is now his best friend. On the night of his birthday, Henry goes out for a meal with his brother, as they do every year, when he gets a text. It's arrangements for a date with someone called Ash that has clearly gone to the wrong number. Henry, being the sort of sweet man that he is, didn't want Ash to think she'd been stood up so goes to meet her to tell her about the wrong number. When he gets there it turns out that Ash is a man. Henry explains the mishap and Ash invites him to stay for a drink to say thank you. 


The rest of the story deals with Henry's awakening to the fact that he is attracted to Ash. As their friendship develops so does a feeling that Henry might not have been as straight as he'd always thought. Undiscovered desires hit hard and Henry's life changes beyond all recognition. 


I very much enjoyed Henry's story. It was light and amusing and very sweet. The author handled sensitive issues very well and even the sex was relevant to the storyline. The writing style flowed beautifully and the characters were very well developed. I liked how very different Henry and Ash were and could imagine them vividly thanks to the author's descriptions. 


Overall this was a very satisfying read - great for holiday.