For a woman with only a few books under her belt, Parker Ford has shown great maturity in her handling of a potentially taboo subject: a deep attraction between a young woman and her late aunt’s widower. Her uncle by marriage, not by blood.
I was instantly drawn into this story. Fiona is a passionate and believable character, notable as much for her empathy, loyalty and sensitivity as for her gorgeous looks. As a reader I was touched by her struggle to reconcile the suddenly transitory nature of her life, and of life in general.
In her uncle Ed, Fiona has a man to suit every part of the woman she is and will be. She’s known him forever, had a crush on him for years. He’s a father, a protector, a provider, and despite the taboo nature of it, he very soon becomes a lover. The scene where Ed first transitions from protector to lover is beautifully created and very deftly crafted. Ms. Ford doesn’t shy away from the difficulties a relationship of this nature presents, which serves only to make the characters, and the situation, more tangible and poignant.
Fiona, for all her goodness, is still a very young woman, and prone to child-like extremes in behaviour. Petty jealousy and sweeping love, one usually feeding from the other. This girl can scratch like a cougar, can spit venom like a cobra. In turn, she often shows a strong need to be steered, to be instructed...even dominated. To be fathered.
But it’s Ed’s tenuous grasp of his self-control which is a revelation. As an older man, someone who has obvious but understated pride in his own strength, his attraction to Fiona is hard for him to accept. When the attraction turns physical, Ed’s guilt, though directed inwards, still manifests in his behaviour. He has flashes of petulance, as if trying to regress to an age where their love would feel appropriate to him.
There are scenes in this story so touching that I found myself on the verge of tears. In public. Some lines are blurred, some lines are crossed. To describe those scenes in isolation would render them powerless, would dilute the story for any potential readers.
It’s a small percentage of women who know how men work. They can drive one around, repair him if he’s broken, and breaking a man isn’t hard to do. Most women have the ability to wield words like they’re hammers. With “Uncle Ed’s Lap”, Parker Ford shows that she understands young women, but more importantly, she shows clearly that she knows older men.
As for the sex? There is plenty. And it’s all damn good. Though erotica is still mostly a female genre, I can assure you that with “Uncle Ed’s Lap”, this man feels that Parker Ford has...set the bar high.
I found Ms. Ford’s writing to have a similar effect on me as Elmore Leonard’s does. Which is not to say the writing is similar in nature. It’s about me as a reader more than it is about either writer. As with most of Leonard’s work, this story seemed to tear itself from the page and leap, legs akimbo, straight into my mind. And it was welcome to do so.
Available now from Amazon.