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That Could Be Enough

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Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like "love" and "hope": avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman's stubborn desire to preserve her late husband's legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks. When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like "love" and "hope": avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman's stubborn desire to preserve her late husband's legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks. When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather's stead, Mercy's resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker. Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her worldview, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it's not enough. This is an angsty but fluffy F/F novella with a happy ending for both of our intrepid heroines.


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Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like "love" and "hope": avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman's stubborn desire to preserve her late husband's legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks. When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like "love" and "hope": avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman's stubborn desire to preserve her late husband's legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks. When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather's stead, Mercy's resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker. Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her worldview, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it's not enough. This is an angsty but fluffy F/F novella with a happy ending for both of our intrepid heroines.

47 review for That Could Be Enough

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chasia Lloyd

    This f/f historical with two Black women is so incredibly emotional and sensual. I loved Mercy and Andromeda passionately. An absolute must read. ***originally read in Hamilton's Battalion***

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shira Glassman

    Review originally appeared on The Lesbrary That Could Be Enough, Alyssa Cole’s lesbian offering in the early American romance collection Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances, is everything a gentle historical f/f romance should be. Both characters, Mercy the servant/secretary and Andromeda the dressmaker, are fully fleshed out even within the novella’s small scope — it feels fully complete and I truly felt like I watched their courtship unfold even though it’s less than a hundred pages (in m Review originally appeared on The Lesbrary That Could Be Enough, Alyssa Cole’s lesbian offering in the early American romance collection Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances, is everything a gentle historical f/f romance should be. Both characters, Mercy the servant/secretary and Andromeda the dressmaker, are fully fleshed out even within the novella’s small scope — it feels fully complete and I truly felt like I watched their courtship unfold even though it’s less than a hundred pages (in my Kindle app, anyway.) The skeleton is your basic “woman has been hurt Really Badly and finally opens up to love again despite all her fears” trope, but the prose is so approachable and the characters so vividly painted that it felt completely fresh to me. When Mercy first sees Andromeda in the doorway of the house where she works, she’s affected in a soul-claiming way that I don’t often see represented in the romances I read but have definitely experienced in the presence of a gorgeous and captivating lady. Mercy’s a poet, but she shut all of that down because of the way a previous girlfriend treated her poetry as part of a cruel, fatalistic breakup. “There’d been a time,” Cole writes, “when she’d felt beautiful things acutely.” This is someone who’s natural personality wants to appreciate and worship all the glories the world has to offer, but can we blame her for being terrified and walled-in after such treatment, and with nobody else in her life – before Andromeda – contradicting her ex’s pronunciations about the fate of queer lives? However, when she starts emerging from her shell again, the poem Cole gave her to write is truly beautiful. I’d put it in the review, but I want you to discover it for itself ;-P In this respect Cole herself is a bit like Mercy, inasmuch as she did some truly stunning things with language. For example, close to the story’s opening, Mercy accidentally wrote “Yearned” in her diary when she was too tired to stop herself. The next morning, she scratches it out, in progressive horizontal lines compared to a wall, and replaces it with “Slept.” That’s some powerful imagery right there. We feel her sense of perpetual retreat. I also really liked the scene where Andromeda whisks Mercy away to something truly cool that the local Black community is working on, something that feels so in tune with Mercy’s own interests that there’s narration about how “seen” she feels, by Andromeda’s choice. I can relate to that a lot; being truly seen is high on my list of things that I’m hoping will get me out of my current, Mercylike frame of mind, romantically. It does contain That Old Standard Trope where someone believes the worst and doesn’t ask for clarification, but from misunderstanding to pain to happy resolution there really aren’t that many pages and honestly I can’t say I’d have behaved any better in her place because when you’re scared of rejection, asking frankly is… difficult. Andromeda is clever and enterprising and devoted to her community, especially to her fellow Black women, and Mercy is sweet and deserves lots of pampering and reassurance and validation after the kind of self-denial in which she’s been wallowing. Author Alyssa Cole did her research and shows us a dainty, yet earnest portrait of what life might have been like for two relatively fortunate queer Black women in the early days of America. We queer women deserve a part in the costume drama world that dazzles many of our imaginations. So do Black women, not that I can speak for them, obviously. Cole’s plot solution/resolution is completely realistic, which makes it far more enjoyable for me because it’s easier for me, personally, to enthusiastically embrace a happy ending if it’s set up to be a plausible one. That Could Be Enough fulfills its mission. The setup and resolution affirm that yes, while the road has never been a guaranteed red carpet, it has always been possible for WoC and those of us who are queer to have a far more decent life than the hungry eyes of non-queer white literature with its appetite for exploitative tragedy would have us believe. Incidentally, the story does contain some bits here and there that will probably make more sense to people more familiar with the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, but I was mostly able to piece together from context what Mercy’s inner voice was thinking about and don’t worry if they lose you anyway; they’re not key to enjoying the story itself. (He’s not even alive anymore when the story takes place.) I don’t remember this having any of the most common triggers I usually warn for. It does have a sex scene, so if that’s your preference, enjoy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    This novella is an utter delight. I've been a fan of Alyssa Cole's writing since I read An Extraordinary Union last year, and have always admired the fresh life she breathes into history, and how artfully she walks the line between historical accuracy, and a frolicking, fun, fast paced (and hot) story. Even within the short span of a novella, Cole imbues both her heroines with lively personalities, heart-aching back story, and bookoodles of banter. It's mostly angsty flirtation, but there is one This novella is an utter delight. I've been a fan of Alyssa Cole's writing since I read An Extraordinary Union last year, and have always admired the fresh life she breathes into history, and how artfully she walks the line between historical accuracy, and a frolicking, fun, fast paced (and hot) story. Even within the short span of a novella, Cole imbues both her heroines with lively personalities, heart-aching back story, and bookoodles of banter. It's mostly angsty flirtation, but there is one short, tasteful sex scene. My one regret was that this story wasn't longer, since I think both Mercy and Andromeda are big enough characters to carry a whole novel, but it IS a novella after all. p.s for anyone who doubts the plausibility of this historical queer romance, there's an excellent historical author's note, where she points readers to a real life relationship upon which this story is loosely inspired (Charity and Sylvia: A Same Sex Marriage in Early America - Rachel Hope Cleves, Oxford University Press) I hope there will be more Seditious Sisters novellas, because one is not enough!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    Beautiful on every level.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  6. 4 out of 5

    charlotte

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nee

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  11. 5 out of 5

    M

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jami

  13. 5 out of 5

    tegan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julia ♥Duncan♥

  15. 4 out of 5

    River Benson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sorcha Mooney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anitra Larae

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

  22. 5 out of 5

    ♕ mali

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

  27. 5 out of 5

    evening-green

  28. 5 out of 5

    April

  29. 5 out of 5

    Irina Vérène

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michele

  31. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kellie Marnoch

  33. 4 out of 5

    Annie (iliveandbreathewords)

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ceili

  35. 5 out of 5

    Miriasha Borsykowsky

  36. 4 out of 5

    Habibah Ugbah

  37. 5 out of 5

    Lore Graham

  38. 5 out of 5

    Katlin Seagraves

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lani

  40. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

  41. 4 out of 5

    Xan West

  42. 4 out of 5

    LVLMLeah

  43. 4 out of 5

    Gingerjab

  44. 5 out of 5

    victoria

  45. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

  46. 5 out of 5

    Luz Ponce

  47. 5 out of 5

    Skye Kilaen

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