Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden PowellOf Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell is a butch/femme, age gap, historical romance between a cursed Asian Indian woman and a prizefighter who wants to save her.

Living off the gullible and extravagant sensibilities of men who come to her club to watch her sing, Deepa Patel dreams of finding the perfect one to set up her and her mother in a life of luxury. She has no feelings for any of them and doesn’t believe in love, at least for herself. After being cursed by a petulant jilted suitor, she finds herself suddenly needing to find true love’s kiss but has no idea how to find it, if it actually does exist. Her friends talk her into finding a good woman and she gives it a try because why not.

Working class Roz is instantly smitten with beautiful, exotic Deepa. She’s a car mechanic and part time prize fighter who wants to give her as much of the world as she can, and doesn’t care that Deepa is a con artist and professional flirt. Still, she isn’t sure she can reconcile their very different ethics, and the fact she’ll never be able to supply the luxury Deepa craves.


The book starts off with a cliffhanger in a world where magic is a recognized part of life, to the point of some magics being officially illegal.

The butch, femme romance blossoms quickly and with a lot of heat but the author makes their relationship very believable with deep conversations, when they aren’t tearing each other’s clothes off.

Deepa discovers feelings for a person for the first time, and that was extremely satisfying to me as a reader.

I very much enjoyed the depiction of the butch dynamic as Roz helps Deepa learn how to be loved and not handled. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the author creates sympathy for Deepa’s profession as con artist.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Deepa and Roz each have a very strong ethical base, and neither of them give up their ideals without a lot of fight. I admire that about them and there are some really interesting conversations that create a strong bond. These women end up knowing each other well in a short amount of time and I love their relationship.  They’re both cynical and it may sound a little odd, but I found that really refreshing. Both of them are professionally involved in activities that society frowns upon and they don’t even care because it pays their bills and they’re good at it. Also, they each respect the other’s abilities.

I’ve rarely encountered a character as sympathetically mercenary, ruthless and pragmatic as Deepa. Some might frown on how she fools and uses men, but it didn’t bother me because she doesn’t do it because she hates men, and she doesn’t take more than they’re willing to afford. While I appreciate the athleticism required of professional boxing, the idea of hitting someone repeatedly with your fists to make a little money is normally a bit unsettling, but I was rooting for Roz.

Roz is the perfect gentleman and Deepa is a super tough femme. I really love that dynamic, and it’s well done in this book. It doesn’t hurt that magic is real and officially recognized as well as a part of the cultural fabric of the world. That makes it a touch more believable that a woman as butch as Roz could navigate the world as openly as she does.

Heads Up

Nothing I can think of unless professional boxing is too much for you.

The Conclusion

In 1920s London, good time girl Deepa needs true love’s kiss to break a pesky and potentially dangerous curse. She’s persuaded to meet car mechanic and prize fighter Roz, and one of them is immediately smitten. Deepa’s problem is, she absolutely doesn’t believe in romantic love. Roz wants to give Deepa the sun and the moon, and doesn’t care about the nature of her job but Deepa can’t shake her deep desire for a luxurious life, even if she has to marry a man.

The butch, femme dynamic is beautifully done, with two very tough main characters. While they are each skilled in their professions, con woman who uses men’s weaknesses, and prize fighter, they’re very sympathetic characters who are portrayed as becoming deeply emotionally and morally intimate over a short period of time. They have tough obstacles to overcome, not least Deepa’s lack of belief in true love.

Excerpt from Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell

As so many of her suitors liked to do, Roz caught Deepa’s fingers to brush a dry kiss over her knuckles, lingering long enough to drop a second smaller kiss on the ruby ring she wore on her middle finger. Unlike with her suitors, Deepa didn’t feel the urge to roll her eyes or wash her hands after.

“What brings an Indian princess to a place like this? I’ve not seen you before.”

“My friends said I should take a break from my regular club where I’m hounded by men night and day.”

“Do you like being hounded by women more?”

“It’s a new experience for me.”

When the bartender slid her glass of wine over, Deepa savoured a delicate sip as she studied Roz from over the rim. Roz toyed with her whiskey tumbler but didn’t drink yet, looking Deepa over just as Deepa was looking at her.

“Just here as a tourist then, are you, love?” Roz’s tone was casual, giving nothing away.

“I didn’t come out tonight intending to get picked up, if that’s what you mean,” Deepa replied, keeping her smile light. “But I like to keep my options open.”


“Certainly not.” Roz took a swig and Deepa watched her swallow. “What do you do?” Roz asked.

“I sing. I go out with rich men and convince them to buy me nice things and not be angry when I leave them after. I’m…mostly successful.” Deepa left out her other, shadier dealings for another time and sipped her drink, gazing at Roz from big, black kohl-lined doe-eyes. “What do you do?”

“I’ve got a job fixing up motorcars in my brother’s garage, but that’s just what pays the bills. What I really do is fight.”

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Series: Flos Magica

The Bachelor’s Valet (m/m)

A Novel Arrangement (f/m/m)

A Thief and a Gentleman (m/m)

Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell (f/f)

Bits and Bobs


Publisher: Indie Author


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