by Karin Kallmaker
Sugar Sorenson’s life has gone up in flames…Literally.
Struggling to make ends meet, Sugar has invested everything into her home business of supplying Sugar’s Cakes and Pastries to local Seattle eateries. A friend suggests she enter a local bakeoff with a $10,000 grand prize and oodles of free publicity. The money would make a world of difference to Sugar’s future. Working ““ and baking ““ night and day to perfect entry, she’s not prepared when the apartment oven starts a fire. Within a few hours she’s got no place to live, no clothes and no business, not even a bag of flour and a measuring cup.
Support arrives in the form of a Victim’s Advocate social worker named Tree, a sympathetic firefighter named Charlie, and the local TV producer coordinating the bakeoff competition. She’s Emily, and the first one of the trio to make a serious play for Sugar in the morning, Sugar in the evening, and Sugar in the afternoon.
After nine years as a single lesbian who couldn’t seem to get a heartbeat from any woman anywhere, all this attention has Sugar’s head spinning. Forced to live with her ailing, homophobic grandmother, she finds it difficult to openly date any of these new women in her life. They all offer changed circumstances, stability and a hope at forever. But which one will steal Sugar’s heart?
Karin Kallmaker’s romp through the Seattle lesbian scene proves that finding Ms. Right is no piece of cake.
GCLS Goldie Awards
Sugar - Winner, Best Lesbian Romance
Lambda Book Report
Michelle Spring-Moore - April, 2005: A line in the old Talking Heads song "Burning Down the House" is appropriate for the protagonist in Karin Kallmaker's latest lesbian romance: "Watch out, you might get what you're after." Kallmaker's Sugar opens with Sugar Sorenson's illegally zoned Seattle apartment in flames, and Sorenson, a professional pastry chef, fearing the loss of her expensive cooking equipment and priceless recipes. But this is a romance: All three of the professionals who show up to help her—within minutes! —are gorgeous lesbians.
The author dwells flavorfully on Sugarï
½s own work sculpting with cake layers, ganache, and fondant; the detailed descriptions of baked good had me ready to bike immediately to the local cafe for a triple-chocolate-chip cookie. Kallmaker also aptly describes the lesbian dating dance's mixed signals are these women asking Sugar out for coffee to express concern because her home just burned down, because they're interested in her career, or because they're attracted to her? Sugar's interior monologue about her suitor's intentions is amusing and real, if bordering on obsessive at times. And the book contains one of my favorite descriptions of a bad romantic experience, when Sugar says to Charlie:
"She said you two dated."
Charlie's eyes flew open. "We did not. We met at agreed-upon places and argued."
Richard LaBonte - January 2005: Kallmaker crafts her fiction—20-plus romance, fantasy, and erotica titles, and counting—at a prodigious rate (three books are scheduled for 2005). Given her fan base, she's review-proof. Damning a Kallmaker won't hinder sales. Kudos won't sell more copies. Nevertheless, praise is due. Sugar is a literary snack as delectable as the fabulous desserts created by struggling - and, sadly, single - Seattle chef Sugar Sorenson.
Life is dire for Sugar, forced from her illegal rental by fire, badgered by her three straight sisters because of her fecklessness, and dependant on her homophobic aunt for refuge. True to the tradition of Kallmaker romances, however, all ends well. Jesus has spoken to her aunt, who has taken tolerance to heart. Sugar's sisters are more sympathetic to her plight - and to her lesbianism - than expected. And, lo,life is suddenly sweet for Sugar. She has three sultry suitors: an aggressive TV producer, a sympathetic social worker, and a hunky female firefighter. It's a given that one of the three fans the flames of love, though the able author quite skillfully keeps readers guessing.
August 2005: This cute novel held me entralled wondering who cake designer Sugar Sorenson would end up with—beautiful TV producer Emily Dorsett, hunky butch firefighter Charlie Bronson, or wonderful Goddess-child Tree Racine. Though plagued with a run of bad luck, events transpire to bring Sugar a sense of her own worth as a woman and as a family-member and put her in the sights of these three enchanting women.
Books to Watch Out For
Carol Seajay, April, 2005: Even when Karin Kallmaker tries to whip up some bit of frothy dessert ï
½ as in Sugar ï
½ she still spins out a sweet ï
½ but not saccharine ï
Sugar is another delightful romance from a great lesbian romance writer. With Sugar she gives the reader a light, frothy story that is just possibly as light as the cakes made by the main character.