“Watts depicts queer existence in a conservative white Appalachian town with realism and, effectively, hope.” —Publishers Weekly

In LAMBDA Award-winning author Julia Watt’s stunning adult novel, set in 1953, two married women struggle to come to terms with their deepening love for each other in a small college town in Kentucky, against a backdrop of racism, sexism, and complete rejection of same-sex liaisons. In 1953 Collinsville, Kentucky, a small college town, colleagues and neighbors of Samuel and Boots are more than willing to accept their married status, even though their official relationship is one of convenience that will never be consummated. Boots, an English professor at Millwood College for Women, has long had clandestine affairs with muscular men, while Samuel dodges questions about her disinterest in motherhood. But when Samuel meets a new professor’s wife, Frances, at a faculty party, she soon falls in love, and learns the difficulty of discretion in a town that doesn’t accept the idea of two women sleeping together. The tragic consequences of a past once thought long-gone reflect present-day trends in this extraordinary novel of passion in the face of societal intolerance. LAMBDA award-winning author Julia Watts (Needlework, Quiver) returns to adult fiction in this consummate historical work.

LOVESICK BLOSSOMS: A Novel by Julia Watts
978-1-953103-342-0360 Pages | TRP-109 | Trade Paper | $16.00
Pub Date: 10/24/23




For Needlework 

Winner, Bronze Medal, Foreword 2022 Indies Award for Young Adult Fiction
2022 Great Reads from Great Places Children’s Book Selection for Tennessee

“Watts’s engaging book addresses timely topics like addiction, homophobia, and racism, but her gentle, heartwarming prose makes this book a comfort read. Kody’s sweetly honest narration makes it impossible not to cheer for him. . . . Highly recommended.” —School Library Journal

“Watts (Quiver) depicts queer existence in a conservative white Appalachian town with realism and, effectively, hope. Even as Kody experiences harm caused by those closest to him, he never doubts his value, a characterization that proves validating in this poignant exploration of the generational trauma caused by poverty, addiction, and racism, and of the power of being loved for oneself.” —Publishers Weekly

“Watts, who lives in Appalachia, captures the setting, the characters, and their voices with conviction. . . . A very readable novel.” —Booklist

For Quiver

Quiver  is an amazing, heartfelt book with a powerful lesson to share. Nearly all young adults feel judged or excluded at some point in their lives; this story will help anyone, no matter their situation, see that acceptance is possible.” Foreword Reviews, starred review, Foreword Indies Finalist

“A wonderful story of friendship…For anyone who has felt “different,” Watts’s novel will be ultimately relatable.” VOYA Magazine, Perfect 10 Rating

“Discussions of values and morality are straightforward and thoughtful, offering some provocative opportunities for readers to articulate their own possibly unquestioned views in discussion. The atmosphere is vivid: Watts’ knowledge of country Tennessee shines through in the details.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This just may be the perfect book for our times, when acknowledgement of common ground and empathy are sorely needed.” —New York Journal of Books 


Julia Watts

Julia Watts is the author of fourteen novels and several short story collections in the genres of young adult fiction and lesbian fiction/erotica. Her books, set in Appalachia, often depict the lives of LGBTQ people in the Bible Belt. Her most recent novel, Needlework, was selected as Tennessee’s youth selection for the “Great Reads from Great Places” list for the 2022 National Book Festival of the Library of Congress, and won Honorable Mention for Best YA novel of the year in the Foreword INDIES awards.Her novel Finding H.F. (Alyson Press) won the Lambda Literary Award in the children/young adult category. Her novel, Quiver, set in rural Tennessee, received a rare “Perfect 10 Rating” from VOYA Magazine, and was selected for the American Library Association’s Rainbow List. Her novel Secret City (Bella Books) was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and a winner of a Golden Crown Literary Award. In 2020 Watts was given the Tennessee Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award. She lives in Knoxville, TN.

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