by Karin Kallmaker

Fleeing the ruins of her life and relationship, Rayann Germaine rents a room from bookstore owner Louisa Thatcher. Decades older, Louisa offers shelter and work—and eventually passion that takes them both by surprise.

Falling in love, and into bed, turns out to be the easy part. Rayann’s mother disapproves of a liaison with a woman her own contemporary. Louisa’s son blames Rayann for revelations about his mother’s past and present that he does not want to accept. Friends universally agree that it can’t last.

These doubts would be easier to withstand if Rayann wasn’t already worried about sustaining the interest of a fascinating woman with a lifetime of experiences. Louisa isn’t sure she has any right to lay claim to the future of a much younger woman. Their only common ground seems to be the searing attraction that they simply can’t deny.

Originally published by Naiad Press 1991. 30th Anniversary Edition 2021.  

Contains a new foreword by the author and a short story.





In stock

Genre Romance
Length 226 pages
Publication Date September 16, 2021
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781931513371x
Editor Christine Cassidy
Cover Designer Heather Dickerman



"How can it be thirty years since the love story of Rayann and Louisa made its way out into the world? Half my brain accepts that events of that time are ancient history now, but the other half feels like I wrote this story merely “a while back.”

It’s strange to realize that an age-gap romance I wrote in part to claim history for an older lesbian is now itself a step back in time for the younger woman’s world view as well. As I revisited it I fell for them both all over again. If you don’t know their story, I truly hope you will fall for them as well.

It was a pleasure to add a foreword that sets the stage for the Gay 90s and provides some history on how this novel even made it to print — it nearly didn’t! Best of all, I got to add back deleted scenes, making it truly “the author’s cut.” There’s also a follow-up short story that has finally been united with its inspiration, giving Louisa the final word."

For more on Karin’s thoughts about celebrating the 30th anniversary of Touchwood read her post on Bella Media.

—Karin Kallmaker

  • Followed by Watermark, which opens nine years later.
  • We recommend reading these books in order!
  • Follow-up stories from both Touchwood and Watermark in Frosting on the Cake Volumes 1 and 2.


Bay Windows
Touchwood explores... with a deft, sensitive touch. It's a wonderful book...truly outstanding.

Bay Area Reporter
Deborah Pfeiffer -

Touchwood, 1990 - Kallmaker has a sure sense of the power of language and of the power of eros. The two are combined in scenes that left me gasping ... with pleasure. Touchwood ... is a wonderfully written, wonderfully entertaining novel. That it addresses, with wisdom and compassion and delight, the most profound questions of who we are and how we define ourselves, is an extra gift, one to be treasured and enjoyed.

Watermark, 1999 - Of all Karin Kallmaker's very fine novels, Touchwood is my favorite. Watermark, a sequel ... may even be better. This is a rich, compelling, wonderful novel, one that will live long in your memory and your heart.

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