EE Ottoman’s The Companion is a short, sweet, historical romance between three trans characters. This is the first book I’ve read where every character involved in the romance is trans. There’s no reliance on the acceptance or approval or understanding of cis people. Just trans people being hot as fuck with each other.
And this is a hot book. In a place where she can be safe and accepted as she is, Madeline wants to learn pleasure and the joy of her body. Victor and Audrey both teach her and please her in their own unique ways. (And the way Audrey doms both of them is incredibly fucking hot.) Which isn’t to say this book is all about the sex—frankly, I don’t even know that I’d classify it as erotic romance, because it doesn’t have the same thread of thirst running through it that I associate with that genre, even though it has more sex scenes than some erotic romances I’ve read. It’s just these people finding love and acceptance together.
I really loved the difference in dynamics between the three of them. That’s reflected in the difference in metaphors too. The Audrey/Madeline dynamic is described as a forest enchantress taking in a runaway fairytale princess. The Victor/Madeline dynamic has shades of a brooding Gothic hero and shy maiden, which the characters themselves poke fun at in a wonderful scene. The Audrey/Victor dynamic we only see from the outside, since the book is in Madeline’s POV, but it still feels so wonderfully real—a pair of exes who still care about each other rediscovering their love for each other through their mutual love of Madeline.
The polyam dynamic in this is just so, so wonderful. I loved seeing the compersion between them, the loving affection without possessiveness, the complete support they had in each other. It just felt so good.
There is some reference to transphobia in the greater society, but the three of them have made a bubble for themselves. Madeline occasionally makes reference to how it affected her living in NYC, but there’s nothing really blatant in the book.
Also, Ottoman includes content warnings in the front of the book.
I loved this book. The romance, the sex, the representation, the wordplay. All of it was so beautiful. I’m glad I bought this one instead of just getting it through the library.
Recommended For: fans of historical romance, anyone looking for trans characters in romance, anyone looking for T4T romances, anyone who FMF polyam romances, people who want trans character written by trans authors