Friday, September 14, 2018

Man Maid of Honor by Courtney Captisa (#transgender #transformation)

Just about anyone who has ever entertained a feminization, transformation, or gender swap fantasy has thought about being a bride, but it is a whole other reality when you are forced into the role of bridesmaid . . . especially when it is to your own wife!

Man Maid of Honor is a fully-developed romantic novel from the magical pen of Courtney Captisa, with everything readers have come to expect of her, along with some pleasant surprises. Tom and Danielle are real characters, with a real relationship, and the kind of everyday struggles with which readers can easily identify. It is all too easy to imagine ourselves in their shoes, and that makes the mental, emotional, and hormonal challenges of Tom's gender swap that much more significant.

What if your wife was now your best friend? 
What if you were no longer her husband, but her bridesmaid? 
And what if she was happier this way?

This is not the story of a curse, a punishment, or cruel game, but that of an accident of fate. There is no villain, and nobody to blame, although Tom, in desperately reaching for answers, has completely natural and understandable suspicions regarding his wife. In fact, we have cause to question her ourselves, to wonder how random it all really was, and part of the story's charm is how Courtney keeps those doubts alive, without feeding us deliberate teases or red herrings.

There is a magical underground grotto at the heart of the book, and it serves as a setting, a plot device, a goal, and a destination. It is a beautiful place, and the night that changes everything is both romantic and erotic. As for the bridal party, here we have a group of female friends on vacation, looking to let loose, go wild, and have some fun, and those friendships are crucial to the story. As we see Tom work through the whole cycle of denial and acceptance, he goes from resenting them, pushing away their attempts to engage him, to loving them, genuinely appreciating them as best friends.

Even more difficult is the fact that his wife is now engaged to a man he has never met, and instead of being her groom-to-be, Tom is forced to be her maid of honor. He is trapped in a situation where he has been denied his gender, and robbed of the life and the wife he knew. Naturally, he fights against it, ignoring his friends and his duties to try and undo his gender swap, but (ironically) it his love for his wife that turns him around and opens his eyes to what is good, and right, and happy about their new lives.

Yes, Man Maid of Honor is the story of a life-changing gender swap, but it is just as much a story of friendship, happiness, and self-realization. The gender aspects are delicious, especially when Tom begins struggling with the biological needs and drives of his new body, but you could take that aspect out and still have a strong vacation romance . . . and that is what makes this so magical, so memorable, and so worthy of its final happy tears.

[In the interest of full disclosure, while I had the great pleasure of providing editorial assistance on the manuscript, the actual writing and story creation is solely the work of the author]

Courtney Captisa has had a strong interest in transformation since childhood. In her early teens, she discovered several webpages such as Fictionmania. She enjoys writing clean stories.

Reviewed by Sally

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