The Life Bestowed by Patricia SpencerThe Life Bestowed by Patricia Spencer is a slow-burn romance between mature women. It delves deep into our human experience.

Jean Louise (aka Scout) is content with her life. She is a nurse practitioner, over 50, has found a lovely family of lesbian friends. She neither expects nor is open to love. Then by chance Professor Kit Delaney, a trans woman and late transitioner, comes into her life. And totally unexpected – despite everything life throws at them – love ever so slowly comes into their lives.


The book started slowly and focused first on the predictable, dare I say boring, life of Scout. And it is a testament to the author’s story-telling skills that I was more and more drawn into the story until I suddenly found myself engrossed in what was unfolding.

The slow pace at the start, the establishing of a thorough foundation and then taking the pace up more and more is nearly a lost art of writing. There is plenty of drama and heart-wrenching turns but nothing contrived, nothing artificial.

Life has a way of challenging Scout and Kit. And as a reader I couldn’t wait to turn the pages, to follow this roller-coaster of emotions to the very end.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

I loved the Canadian setting and found friends surrounding Scout. I relished the chance to stand virtually in the shoes of a trans woman. A favorite thread of the story was the blossoming of Scout: settled for life, a bit boring until she meets Kit and is seen as the queen she is and “a woman of resplendent plumage”.

Heads Up

Oh my, a book where a cis lesbian falls in love with a trans woman. Plenty of pitfalls for an author – even if you have sensitivity readers (and yes, she does). I loved how Spencer lets us experience Kit’s everyday life and her backstory. What a revelation to read about the at times subtle slurs and about the jarring, life-threatening situations. Beware Spencer doesn’t pull her punches when it comes to negative experiences (there is a suicide attempt too). Very poignant and realistic – as the mother of a bullied trans teen who died by suicide Spencer brings the messages home.

At the same time these ugly experiences of living a life as a trans woman were my favorite parts: so well done and bridging the divide between the reader and reality. How can you not have empathy for Kit, how can you not be an ally of a woman who strives to be a messenger of hope and understanding?

The Conclusion

Henriette's-FavouriteThis was my first book by this Canadian author and certainly not my last.

While reading this book it didn’t surprise me at all that she already won a coveted “Goldie”. The way she lets us readers participate in the life and love of these two mature women is nothing but masterful and the writing, the pacing, the insertion of backstories, the revelation of characters was a joy to read.

Add to this the delicate exploration of what it means to live as a trans woman and you have a rich tapestry of experiences and a book which begs to be read and savored. Although there is crisis and drama the book is in more than one sense a labor of love.

BTW Although this is part two of a loosely connected series it can be read as a standalone.

Excerpt from The Life Bestowed by Patricia Spencer

Dr. Patel’s door was ajar, the familiar floor to ceiling bookshelves on the opposite wall visible through the gap. She tapped lightly on the door and eased it further open. “Dr. Patel. It’s me. I’ve come with tea.” Not seeing him at his desk, she leaned around the door to look into the rest of the room, and froze.

There was someone arranging books on the shelves on the other side of the door, arrested in mid-action, looking back at her.

Not Dr. Patel.

An extraordinary … man? woman? … of about her age. Tall, fit, impeccably dressed and groomed. Her breath caught. The oddest feeling came over her, like she was hiking in the woods and suddenly stepped into a clearing with a magical creature.

Hazel eyes caught hers, intense, focused. The individual straightened fractionally, chin lifted almost defiantly upwards, as if to say: Go ahead. Look all you want.

She did. She couldn’t tear her eyes away. The teas in the cardboard tray wobbled in her left hand. She steadied it, swallowing hard. Oh, my, she kept thinking. Oh, my.

The person finally broke the silence. “She / her.”

Scout tipped her head. “Sorry?”

“My pronouns.”

“Oh.” Scout’s hand flew to her mouth. Was she drooling? God. At the very least, she had been staring. Gawking, really. She / her was … well, amazing. Distinctive. Like no one Scout had seen before. How does someone just stand there and suck the air out of your lungs? She gave herself a shake. “I’m, um, she / her, too,” she said. “How will we tell us apart?”

She / her laughed. Her face broke open, all reserve gone.

“Well. We may have to resort to names. Mine’s Kit,” she said. “Dr. Kit Delaney. That’s a PhD ‘doctor,’ not an MD ‘doctor.’ ”

“I’m Jean Louise Neal, NP. That’s a ‘Nurse Practitioner’ NP, not some other NP.”

Kit dipped her chin. “I see, but—‘Jean Louise?’ Isn’t that the name of the little girl in To Kill A Mockingbird?”

“The tomboy, yes. My parents loved old movies. I’m just grateful they weren’t re-watching Gone With the Wind when I was born.”

“You wouldn’t care to be named Rhett?” Scout chuckled.

“My friends call me Scout. That’s hard enough to explain.”

“Imagine being called Kit.”

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Series: The Prince Edward County Series

The Hum of Bees

The Life Bestowed (can be read as a stand-alone)


Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-7380527-2-1

Publisher: Indie Author

Patricia Spencer Online


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Note: I received a free review copy of The Life Bestowed by Patricia Spencer. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site