As we prepare to open the doors of Beausoleil Books this Fall, we wanted to take a little time to introduce the people behind the shelves. Today’s blog is dedicated to the co-owner who loves to write as much as she loves to read, Blair Boles! Blair is so excited to be fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning an independent bookstore and can think of no better place for it than downtown Lafayette. When she isn’t dancing to the tune of live music from the many festivals and events downtown, you can find Blair with her husband, Jacob, on the patio at their favorite downtown restaurant, Spoonbill.
Born and raised in the small town of Olla, Louisiana, Blair fell in love with Lafayette while attending ULL. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at ULM. Blair then took her talents on the undergraduate moot court circuit to LSU Law School where she competed in several moot court and trial advocacy competitions on her way to earning her J.D.
Blair’s contributions at Beausoleil Books extend far beyond being a co-owner. As our Literary Curator, she had this to say about the Beausoleil Books experience: “The books on our shelves are not just New York Times bestsellers. We chose books that express our personality, ideals, and beliefs. We believe in inclusivity and that’s exactly the culture we are growing.” If you find your next love on the shelves of Beausoleil Books, you can probably thank Blair!
The monumental task of curating a bookstore has not come at the expense of Blair’s other lifelong dream. Blair writes contemporary romance novels, or, as she calls them, “a guaranteed happily ever after and some sexy tension.” In fact, her debut novel, What Comes After, is available today, September 22, 2020! The Beausoleil Books family anticipates many wonderful events with local authors and will be most proud to see our very own Blair Boles on the calendar.
What comes after you read What Comes After? If Blair’s book serves as your introduction to the contemporary romance genre and you want to continue the journey, she recommends reading books by her favorite romance author, Sally Thorne. You can purchase Blair’s book and support her bookstore at the same time by ordering through Bookshop (link below). Be sure to follow Blair’s social media for updates on her debut, future books, and events.
See you soon in downtown!
Follow or contact Blair:
Luster by Raven Leilani
Edie is a 23-year-old artist living in New York and working a day-job at a publishing company. While struggling to figure out her place in this world and how to co-exist with others, she slips into a romantic relationship with a married digital archivist, Eric, from New Jersey. Eric’s wife, a medical examiner named Rebecca, has consented to an open marriage with certain rules, all of which Edie seems to break. After being fired, Edie finds herself unintentionally living with Eric, Rebecca, and their teenaged daughter, Akila. The remainder of the story examines this phase in Edie’s struggle to build and maintain relationships with those around her and develop her artistic talent.
Although Edie makes questionable choices and seems to have difficulty understanding her sexuality, she unapologetically takes ownership of her body (to the extent she can) and attempts to find pleasure in using her body to make others uncomfortable. Edie is messy, intelligent, complicated, beautiful, disruptive, emotional, and real. Knowing that Edie has an affair with an older white man and knowing that Edie becomes a role model to the white couple’s Black daughter, I was concerned about a potential stereotypical representation of a young Black woman. However, Leilani does not put Edie into any of the stereotypical neatly packaged boxes that perpetuate racism and bore readers. At moments that could arguably be stereotypical, Leilani’s choice to utilize a stream-of-consciousness narration style allows for a deeper exploration of these ideas through Edie’s perspective. Leilani portrays each grotesque and beautiful moment that makes up this phase of Edie’s life with authenticity and without judgment. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the focus not only on the relationship between Edie and Eric, but also between Edie and Rebecca, and between Edie and Akila. However, at its heart, this book is about Edie’s relationship with herself.
The tone of the book involves dark humor, sadness, and loneliness with small moments of joyful escape. The writing style follows Edie’s mental associations and emotions through her memories and her ponderings on the meanings of the events in her life. Edie’s thoughts are matter-of-fact yet poetic. This debut novel is a work of art. It isn’t a story you read; it’s a story you experience. I would especially recommend this book to fans of Alice Walker, as it reminded me of You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down. Although I would recommend this novel to all contemporary fiction fans, readers may want to be aware of trigger warnings for racism, police brutality, gun violence, physical abuse, abortion, miscarriage, and drug addiction.
Special thanks to our friends at Libro.fm, who provided a copy of Luster for me to listen to.
Follow Endya on Instagram to see more of what she is reading. If you'd like to read Luster and support Beausoleil Books, use the buttons below to purchase through the Bookshop.org and Libro.fm affiliate programs: