Becoming Janice

Becoming Janice
Genre: sapphic literature, lesbian fiction, LGBTQ+ fiction

Fine lesbian fiction set in London and Amsterdam

Becoming Janice (Iguana Books, 2024) is relatable lesbian fiction, a captivating coming-of-age story that follows Janice in her search for love and personal growth in London and Amsterdam.

The story begins with Janice, newly arrived in London from Auckland, seeking to fill the void left by her first lesbian lover.

When Janice runs away to Amsterdam, the vibrant gay scene of the city, vividly portrayed by sapphic author Ragini Werner, creates a rich backdrop for Janice’s further adventures in love and self-discovery.

Delicately balancing an unpredictable arc of self-discovery with a deft exploration of interpersonal relationships, Ragini Werner ensures that Becoming Janice is not just a pacy invigorating read, but also a marvelously nuanced look at the myriad forms that love can take when one is looking for love in all the wrong places.


Becoming Janice is a gripping read, immersing the reader into a nomadic coming-of-age story.”

Lira Palmer

author ragini werner button

Overview of Becoming Janice

Becoming Janice is a poignant tale of a search for love. Just as Ragini Werner’s previous lesbian fiction novel, Revealing Philippa, drew acclaim for breaking the confines of conventional sapphic romance, this new book offers another compelling lesbian love story of one queer woman’s journey to emotional maturity.


Newly arrived in London from Auckland, Janice is looking to fill the enormous void left by her first lover. What begins as a quiet and cautious start to what she hopes will be a new phase of life soon becomes a whirlwind ride through late 1970s Europe.

PART TWO: Hannah

Taking readers with her to Amsterdam, Janice keeps seeking true love while fleeing the tragic complications from her efforts in London. As her learning curve becomes increasingly pronounced, she falls deliriously in lust with a sophisticated older woman. Naïve and hopelessly blindsided by betrayal and deceit, Janice turns to this woman’s ex, who takes her under her wing without hesitation.


At long last, it seems like Janice has found her perfect match. But will happiness still elude her when she realizes that the only way forward is to stop evading responsibility for her foolish choices and take charge of her own life?

Genre: sapphic literature, lesbian fiction, LGBTQ+ fiction
Ragini Werner, sapphic author of lesbian literature

Ragini Werner, sapphic author of lesbian literature

Ragini Werner was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Dutch parents. She lives in a charming cottage adorned with roses, nestled in a quaint village in the northernmost part of the Netherlands. She shares her cozy home with a playful companion, a small dog named Cappuccino after her favorite beverage, Chino for short.

Celebrated by aficionados of lesbian fiction

Becoming Janice delivers. With its nuanced characters, solid narrative and detailed sense of place, this novel places Ragini Werner solidly on a list of some of the finest novelists of the day.” — Christopher Houston

“Ik heb genoten van ‘Becoming Janice’. De auteur heeft een sprankelende vertelstijl. De beschrijving van Amsterdam was herkenbaar, met heerlijke knipoog. Ook de ontwikkeling die Janice doormaakt is herkenbaar en neemt de lezer voor haar in. De plot die in de loop van het verhaal komt bovendrijven geeft een extra spanning aan het verhaal, met een onverwacht einde dat staat als een huis. Om na het lezen nog eens verder op door te kauwen. Kortom, ik heb het boek met meer dan plezier alleen gelezen. Smaakt naar meer …”— Nelleke van Vliet

 “I liked Becoming Janice. The author has a sparkling narrative style. The description of Amsterdam was recognizable, with delightful details. The journey Janice goes on is relatable and sweeps the reader along with her. The plot that emerges over the course of the story adds suspense and has an unexpected ending, as solid as the ground we stand on. It leaves you with something to think about. In short, I more than enjoyed reading the book.  It’s given me a taste for more …” — Nelleke van Vliet

Becoming Janice is a gripping read, immersing the reader into a nomadic coming of age story. On the quest of belonging, we see Janice hope, fumble, be disappointed and above all grow as she navigates love and friendship. I finished in two sittings, as Janice’s (mis)adventures wouldn’t let me put the book down. I felt for Janice just as I have felt for friends navigating their early twenties. I have found myself reflecting quite a bit on Janice and her story since finishing Becoming Janice, and I am excited to read more from Ragini Werner.” — Lira Palmer

“So good to read Becoming Janice, not just for the well paced story, but for the lovely memory threads that wisped about my head; being a New Zealander in 1970s London, poor, an outside observer, focused on theatre; visits to Amsterdam, discovering what was different and nice; and the learning curve about what an adult friend can be.”  — Gabrielle Johnston

« Se sentant mal-aimée par ses parents, Janice échappe à leur désintérêt pour elle en quittant son pays d’adoption et en s’enfuyant en Europe. Le voyage à l’âge adulte lui apporte de la joie, de l’amitié et de l’amour mais aussi des difficultés émotionnelles avec leurs conséquences. Son stoïsme reste intact alors que Janice découvre les réalités de la vie mais aussi celles de l’amour. Un livre honnête et bien écrit qui rend la lecture très agréable. » —  Mayanne Mackay

“Feeling unloved by her parents, Janice escapes their lack of interest in her by leaving her adopted country for Europe. The voyage in her young adulthood brings her joy, friendship and love but also emotional difficulties with their consequences. Her stoicism remains intact as Janice discovers the realities of life and also those of love.  An honest, well-written book that makes very enjoyable reading.” —  Mayanne Mackay

You know you’re in the hands of a skilled writer when you start reading Becoming Janice. A shy, but confirmed lesbian, Janice embarks on her OE in the late 70’s and her adventures in love (or without love) are the basis of this tale. I was in London in the late 70’s, and Ragini Werner has such a gift for evoking place and time that I almost expected to encounter myself in Janice’s journey. Amsterdam too comes alive as Janice falls in and out of bed, as so many of us did in our 20’s! Janice blossoms, and then blooms. It is a story you will recognise. Enjoy!” — Kate JasonSmith

Becoming Janice is a true rite-of-passage story that takes you back to the liberated gay scene of Amsterdam in the late seventies, where Janice is looking for her Wonder Woman, with several heart-halting frights along the way. I read it cover to cover in one go. Simply unputdownable!” — Eefke Smit, author of The Discipline of Curiosity

“Ragini Werner has crafted a poignant, thoughtful story that teases out the complexity of human relationships, holding a mirror up to ourselves, whatever our age, our era, our past, our place on the spectrum of what it is to be human. Gritty, heartwarming and deeply evocative of a world in which many of us grew up, this is a story of love sought and found on so many levels. Beautiful. A voice to watch out for.” — Manda Scott, prize-winning, bestselling author of Any Human Power

“I’ve just finished reading Becoming Janice. It’s a wonderful coming of age story. Sometimes I found it hard to be sympathetic to Janice (she can be a real pushover and she let so many people take advantage of her) but I kept forgetting that she was so young. She doesn’t have much experience. But she does find her way, step by step, becoming stronger and bolder with each new adversity. I felt quite proud of her by the end of the story. And I’m already wondering what she did after she stepped off the bus she boarded at the end! Fab book cover too. I really liked it.” — Gael Spivak

“In Becoming Janice, Ragini Werner takes us on a Grand Tour of Lesbian Amsterdam as the 1980s dawn, ‘tarts and all,’ as Janice’s gay Scottish friend Colin might say. She vividly evokes an era full of self-discovery with comedy and catastrophe, but also, eventually, with some quieter and more thoughtful conclusions that just might be what Janice has been needing to become Janice.” — Murray Edmond, poet, playwright, editor & critic, author of Aucklanders (Lasavia Publishing, 2023)

«Becoming Janice es una conmovedora historia acerca de las inescapables fuerzas del amor y la amistad, con todo el bien y el mal que pueden hacer. Con su prosa veloz, cautivadora y sencilla, Ragini Werner lleva al lector a atestiguar el mundo emocional interior de Janice, una mujer joven que se las ve con estas fuerzas en el afán de encararse a sí misma y de navegar entre sus necesidades, sus deseos, y aquellos de un conjunto de personajes memorables. Lleno de retratos entrañables y buen humor, este libro es una agradable invitación a recordar ese antiguo adagio: conócete a ti mismo».

  “Becoming Janice is a moving story about the inescapable forces of love and friendship, along with the good and evil they can do. With her swift and captivating, easy prose, Ragini Werner takes the reader to witness the inner emotional world of Janice, a young woman who grapples with these forces in an effort to face herself, and to navigate between her needs, her desires, and those of an array of memorable characters. Full of enticing portrayals and good humor, this book is a pleasant invitation to remember that age-old adage: know yourself.”— Alberto Cortés Navarrete

“I finished the book within a week and thought it was brilliant! It would have been so easy to devour it in one sitting, if I’d had the time. It was just the kind of book I love to read—one that grabs your attention right away with intriguing characters and keeps you hooked. It was so nice to pick it up each time and fall back into Janice’s world for a little while. I am already looking forward to the sequel.”  — Claire Bacon

Becoming Janice reframes the coming-of-age story as a queer journey into single womanhood during the early 80’s. As a narrator, Janice is wholly relatable in her isolation and sexual frustration, as she scrounges her way through Europe, picking up cheeky friends and odd jobs. But even as she joins up with a group of lesbian thespians, or navigates various heartbreaks, specters of the past keep pace with Janice in ways that are surprising, yet resonant.” — Lindsay Merbaum, author of The Gold Persimmon

“When I started reading Becoming Janice, I had to fight the inclination to be an editor, to ask why Ragini Werner said it like this and how about formulating it so. But when something horrible happened to Kobus I was jolted out of editorial mode and became immersed in the narrative. The rest read like a train, as the Dutch say. Colin, Hannah, Negy, Kate, all relatable characters. Now the but. I hated the ending! The Janice who popped up on the last few pages was not the one I thought I had learned to know and like. Am I the only one? To end on a positive note, Ragini Werner has talent. It was a riveting read.” — Derek Coleman

“All the characters in Becoming Janice came alive for me. I felt like I had known them for years. And Ragini Werner’s writing drew me in and wouldn’t let me go. I hope she writes another book about Janice!” – Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, author of “This Pencil for Hire” in What Editors Do, edited by Peter Ginna

Becoming Janice is AMAZING. I loved the scenes in Amsterdam. And the pace is brilliant. It just keeps going, which so many novels do not. And last but not least it is accessible and not the least off-putting for non-lesbians. In fact, overall, hugely enjoyable. I liked the ending. It made me wonder what Janice would discover once she arrived in Edinburgh. I hope Ragini Werner will consider writing a sequel.” — Judith Taylor


Becoming Janice


ISBN-13: 978-1771806909

ISBN-10: 1771806907

Publication Date:

Number of Pages: 294

Publisher: Iguana Books

Language: English

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Genre: Lesbian fiction, Sapphic literature, Women’s fiction

Description: Newly arrived in London, bereft Janice is looking to fill the void left by her first lover, Ariel, and cautiously makes friends with Kobus. When he ruins their friendship, she escapes the tragic consequences by running away to Amsterdam. There she finds a lovable ally in Colin, who is making the most of the city's exciting gay scene. When Janice falls deliriously in lust with the glamorous Hannah, she is unprepared for the inevitable heartbreak. But kind-hearted Kate is there to pick up the pieces and at long last Janice seems to have found her perfect match—and a reason to stop running and accept responsibility for herself.

Weight: 434 g

Dimensions: 24 x 1.68 x 22.86 cm