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Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Local Custom

Local Custom - Steve Miller, Sharon Lee

This is a great story with a lot of subtle layers.

It is at it's base a love story. A rather intense love story.

But then you add in some intercultural challenges. Er Thom is an heir of the prime clan on the planet Liaden. Anne is a simple scholar from Earth. They meet and have an intense relationship for a bit before he must leave Earth to continue on with his life and the duty of his station on his planet. Both Er Thom is drawn back to Anne, unable to forget her. As they reconnect he and Anne struggle with doing what is right for both of them and their child. But Er Thom has the added fillip of needing to fulfill the necessary obligation to his line, his clan and his honor.

Include a dash of soapy goodness. It is a secret baby plot! They have a child together. As per her 'local custom' she gives the child his father's surname. When Er Thom discovers he is a father, he has an obligation to make sure his child is acknowledged by his clan on his planet as per his 'local custom.' But they are unsuited as the Liadens generally look down on Terrans. And his mother is NOT pleased with his jumped up girlfriend. There are some a few great confrontational scenes that could be worthy of any glitzy soap.

Finish it up with some solid world-building. We learn a lot about the Liaden culture and peoples through their language. Anne is a linguist and she understands how the Liadens communicate and many of the nuances in their language are integral in how the society interacts. But even so, she manages to miss some cues and this causes some misunderstandings between her and Er Thom. I loved that the author used language as the way to convey the cultural differences between Er Thom and Anne. It was an elegant way to introduce a system.

This was a really good, solid science fiction romance that does what SFR is supposed to do, it balances very well both the science fiction and the romance and seamlessly integrates both into a wholly satisfying story