Book two of Nancy Cole's Newly Chronicles, "A Different Kind of Courage," begins by depicting a scenario that smacks of purging, an all too common practice in those who are transgender. In this novel, a young man struggles to find out who he really is, first taking steps to overcome the torment of his gender dysphoria by creating a macho persona that is common to those struggling with such issues, and then slowly, but inexorably, morphing into the attractive and charming young woman, Amanda. This is a long book about a young man coming to terms with his gender identity, but one that is so good, I didn't want it to end.
The lovely Amanda is a charming, emergent heroine who, like so many of us, is finding her niche in life.
Book one, Tips, was a novel that I also found to be quite enjoyable, but one that relied too heavily on the artificial premise of student/waiter Andy trying to win a bet by proving he can make more tips by successfully passing himself off as Amanda, a waitress. Book two offers a very interesting continuation of the first novel, featuring the return of Andy to college after a two-year hiatus of trying to find himself by becoming a Marine and fighting in Iraq. After he almost gets himself killed with his over-the-top heroics (an exciting and realistic piece of writing itself), he leaves the service and returns to college, the scene of his first venture into girlhood.
There, he becomes Amanda once more, proving that one can go home again - but this time we wonder if it just might be for keeps? As Andy/Amanda tests the waters of transition, he has the support of some wonderful and interesting people. There is abundant character development in this novel, and we get a pretty intimate glimpse into the lives of the supporting characters. We also find a plot that builds toward an exciting climax.
Fortunately, I believe book three, Inconvenient Truths, is coming to Kindle one of these days.
[Reviewed by Samuel]