November 2006
SCP      Please help support Just About Write
by purchasing your books through the
StarCrossed Productions
links on our pages. Thank you, wholeheartedly.

Title: Broken Wings
Author: L-J Baker
ISBN: 1933110554
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95 Pages: 312 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance/Speculative

L-J Baker's debut novel, Broken Wings, is pure fantasy and a whole lot more. I did not expect to like this story as much as I did, but it captured me from the beginning, taking me on a delightful and magical ride and teaching me a lesson or two along the way.

Simply stated, Broken Wings is about a fairy, named Rye Woods, who has illegally escaped Fairyland with her younger sister. To give Holly a better life, Rye works hard, holding down 2-3 jobs and attending night school. She does all this while trying to avoid the authorities, fearing they may find out who she really is and deport Holly and her. But Rye doesn't count on falling in love with the beautiful Dryad, Flora Withe. Baker melds this sweet and tender love story with the hard-hitting issues of class, money, and prejudices.

Baker has given us a complex character in Rye Woods. She is fiercely loyal and protective of her sister, Holly, even lying to her about her family history and their past in Fairyland. Yet she is an honest, hard-working fairy who struggles to pay for an elite private school for Holly so she can have a better life. Rye focuses all of her energies on Holly so she has little time for anything else. But when Holly enters a school art contest, Rye attends, and this is where she meets Flora, a wealthy and successful artist who is immediately intrigued by Rye. Flora sees beyond the trappings of appearances and finds the beauty within Rye. Rye at first does not understand or accept this love because she is so afraid of Flora discovering her true identity. This conflict is the heart and soul of Broken Wings.

Baker's make-believe world uses language and imagery that fits flawlessly with the tone of the novel. The metaphors of conformity and having to hide one's true identity are stinging and bold. Baker does not pull any punches as to the real themes of the book, but she carefully and skillfully incorporates these into the plot. This is quite a feat for a first-time novelist.

Sometimes the prisons we live in have nothing to do with concrete and bars. Broken Wings is a moving tribute to those who have broken free of the chains that restrain them. Kudos to Baker for taking on such a brave task.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Carly's Sound
Author: Ali Vali
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
ISBN: 1933110457
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bella Distribution,
Cost: $15.95 Pages: 256
Genre: Romance





Sometimes a book is so good that writing a review is difficult. The concern is that something will be said in the review that will cause a reader not to try the book. That would be a true shame in the case of Carly's Sound.

Carly Stevens is dead. That isn't a spoiler. That fact is established on the first page. Poppy Valente felt her world die when Carly died in her arms. It was nine hundred and seventeen days before the book starts and Poppy finally feels like she can begin to get on with her life. She doesn't ever expect to be happy again, but Valente Resorts will keep her busy and there are people who depend on her. She's drawn back to Carly's Sound, the resort that she and Carly had planned to be special for them. Maybe there she can find the will to go forward alone.

Julia Johnson is hoping to start again also. Her brother Rayford has been hired to be the assistant manager at a new resort and Julia is pretending to be his wife so that she can begin a new life with her small child. Things only become more complicated when she discovers that her new friend, who has opened up so many possibilities to her and who takes such good care of her daughter, is her brother's boss. She wants to open her heart to the sensitive woman, but is afraid of the lie that stands between them. And there is the fact that she has to compete with a dead woman.

Carly's Sound is a sensitive story about loss and renewal. Ali Vali shows a masterful use of the language in the way she deals with Poppy's feelings. There are no long tortuous passages about how much she misses Carly. Instead, Vali uses her words and actions to show how much Carly meant to Poppy and what a devastation her loss was. Vali doesn't bludgeon the reader with sadness, but the feeling is still there. One of the best devices used in the book is to have Carly's ghost appear in the story. Whenever Poppy's misery threatens to become too strong, Carly pops in and provides some comic relief. The great affection between the two characters is obvious, but so is the fact that Carly is ready for Poppy to move on. The reader can also feel Poppy's confusion as her feelings for Julia begin to develop and she feels that she is somehow betraying the relationship she had with Carly. Julia provides a perfect character study as the woman who wants to love Poppy, but is afraid she will never be able to live up to what Poppy had before. Vali shows herself to be a talented writer in how she tells her story and presents her characters. Whether or not the reader has ever experienced such a loss, you will feel empathy with the characters and know that you've read a good book.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Cytherea's Breath
Author: Sarah Aldridge
ISBN: 0-930044-02-9
Publisher: Naiad Press
Distributed by A&M Books (Email:
Price: $12.00
Pages: 212
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian

In Sarah Aldridge's third novel, Cytherea's Breath, she finds the perfect vehicle for her writing style. The story is set shortly after the turn of the century (1906), and tells of Emma Wycliffe, a young medical doctor. Through the auspices of a group of wealthy Baltimore women, she has been able to complete her training as a physician and now wishes to further her education.

Emma arrives at the home of Miss Margaret Bell to ask her group of supporters for financial assistance so that she can learn about medical advances by working in a hospital in London. She gives an impassioned speech on how women physicians must be able to learn as much as men so that they may be considered equal to them in their skills and abilities. The women agree, but not before an apparent momentary connection between the very prim-and-proper Miss Margaret Bell and Emma is established. Emma, however, hardly notices because she is so preoccupied, trying to make a good impression on the ladies of Baltimore in order to achieve her goal.

Once Emma arrives in London, she is confronted with a strenuous workload and the burden of coming to grips with the fact that poor women have very little advantage or worth in society. She also must contend with the unwanted advances from an influential male physician.

During her too few hours of leisure, she is invited to a gathering at the house of a woman involved with Mrs. Pankhurst's suffragettes. There she meets Alison St. Claire. Alison is a slum visitor for the London Women's Rescue Mission and the two find that their common bond of alleviating the suffering of poor women soon leads to a personal friendship. This blossoms into something more when the two women move in together. For months, Emma finds comfort from loneliness and the difficulty of her work in Alison's arms.

Alison has a fun-loving and lighthearted personality, yet she is not altogether comfortable with the relationship she has with Emma. Eventually, Emma discovers that during Alison's weekend visits to her family in the English countryside, a young man has courted her. This brings Emma up short in her plans to get Alison to return to America with her and she is devastated over the loss of her love. Her only source of consolation is the steady stream of letters she receives from Margaret Bell. Her news-filled notes not only bolster Emma in spite of her sorrow, they also include continuing financial support.

As her tenure of studies in London draws to a close, Emma petitions Miss Bell to fund additional travels through Europe. Most notably, she wants to visit clinics in Holland where birth control devices are being developed. She is interested in learning about these because she has seen first-hand the devastation that comes when women are forced to bear too many children in poverty. She knows that she must be careful because such things are illegal in most parts of the world and, as Alison cautions Emma, a woman physician is more easily discredited than a man for involvement in such things. Because of this, Emma does not tell Miss Bell of her intention to go to Holland.

As the date of her departure grows nearer, Emma questions her decision to ask Miss Bell for additional money, as she hears nothing from her. At the last possible moment, a note of apology arrives for Emma with money and letters of introduction to important people throughout Europe. Emma factors in enough time to be able to go to Holland as well as to visit the other places that Miss Bell has arranged for her.

Throughout Emma's travels, Miss Bell's friends, who reveal someone who is so much more than the reserved, proper Baltimore lady, intrigue her. Because of these revelations and the content of Miss Bell's constant stream of letters, Emma finds herself developing a fondness for Margaret Bell. Upon her return to America, Emma, still grieving over the loss of Alison, returns to Baltimore to thank Miss Bell for her generosity.

She discovers that Miss Bell's final contribution was late in arriving because Miss Bell's hands had been burned as she tried to rescue her housekeeper whose apron had caught on fire. Since Emma is to be a guest in Miss Bell's house, she tells her that she will massage her hands for her every day. The two women embark on a tentative friendship as, at Miss Bell's suggestion, Emma begins a year of teaching at the local medical school and starts her own practice that includes both poor women in the tenements and wealthy women whom she eventually sees in rooms that Margaret Bell has remodeled for Emma's use.

Through a series of incidents, the women are drawn into a faltering relationship and Emma finds herself, once again, with a woman who is not comfortable in loving another woman. This time, the source of the guilt for "Meg," as Emma now calls her, comes from her disdainful, controlling older sister, Susanna. As Susanna recognizes a deepening relationship forming between her sister and Emma, a constant undercurrent of conflict arises between Susanna and Emma. Meg finds herself in the middle as she battles her own demons. To compound the difficulty, each time Emma visits her family, her mother questions why Emma is so willing to accept money and hospitality from Miss Bell without question. The young physician always dismisses her mother's inquiries as lack of understanding of the generous woman that Miss Bell is.

It is the reemergence of an old friend of Meg's that finally opens both women's eyes to see what they mean to each other and how they are hurting each other by not allowing their relationship to develop. Cordelia Drummond is a free spirit in her own right. Although married, Cordelia takes her pleasure where she wishes. She reveals to Emma that she and Meg had a relationship in their younger days, shedding light on how the reserved Miss Bell could be so adept at lovemaking.

Cordelia eventually uses her wiles to get the beautiful Emma alone. Although Cordelia is attracted to Emma, the reader discovers a more noble intention to her actions for she does not want to seduce the beautiful doctor, but rather to awaken in Emma the strength to do the right thing. Cordelia also confronts Meg with the similar ultimatum, telling her that it is too late for the two of them—that Susanna ruined what they had together years before—but not to let her do it again. She insists that now that her old friend has a second chance at love and happiness, she should not waste it.

Aldridge has done an excellent job in portraying the era in which the story is set. The characters are true to the time and the dialog is superb. The story of the struggles of women of the time in general and classes of women in particular at the turn of the century is revealed with frankness and accuracy. Of the first three of Sarah Aldridge's novels, this is by far the best and is not to be missed. Cytherea's Breath is a wonderful story by this great lady of lesbian literature.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Just This Once
Author: KG MacGregor
Publisher: Bella Books
ISBN: 1594930872
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $13.95   Pages: 228
Genre: Romance

There is always much talk about how romance novels are written to a formula—woman meets woman, an obstacle comes between the women, the women work things out. There is nothing inherently wrong with writing to a formula as long as the story is well told. KG MacGregor always tells a story well.

Just This Once is the story of Paula McKenzie and Wynne Connelly. Paula is the assistant manager of an upscale business hotel in Orlando, Florida, and Wynne is one of the guests. Wynne is traveling from Boston on a regular basis to help with the merger of the company she works for with a much larger travel organization. The women are drawn to each other and begin spending time together at various activities. Neither of them believes the relationship has much future because of the distance between them, but they can't seem to resist each other. That is, until a secret that Wynne has been keeping comes to light. What seemed to have been a promising romance is destroyed by a lack of good faith…or is it? Finding the answer to that question becomes an interesting study in whether trust, once violated, can ever be restored.

This is not a new story, but it is one told with style. One of the nice points is that MacGregor takes her time dealing with the issues between her characters. Too often writers seem to be in a hurry to settle their stories and they rush events at a pace that doesn't seem natural. MacGregor gives her characters time to develop their relationship and then more time to deal with the problems that arise between them. They don't disagree one day and suddenly realize the next that they are soul mates meant to be together no matter what has happened between them. The book covers a span of years to deal with the betrayal that Paula feels Wynne perpetrated. Wynne has to prove that she can be trusted again, and that doesn't happen overnight. MacGregor also manages to make both characters human and people that a reader can relate to. Wynne has made some bad mistakes, but the reader will recognize how these occur in real life when people lose control of events in their lives. Paula's reactions are also perfectly understandable and ring true to experience. What this book demonstrates is a maturity of style and life. This isn't MacGregor's first novel and it shows that she is growing into her storytelling art. It's a pleasant read and a well-told story.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Many Roads to Travel
Authors: Karen Surtees & Nann Dunne
ISBN: 978-1-932300-55-0
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises (Yellow Rose Books)
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $16.95
Pages: 246
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian

The sequel to True Colours advances the story of TJ Meridian and Dr. Mare Gillespie. TJ has had another back surgery to correct an injury previously incurred in a car accident. Her painful recovery presents both physical and emotional turmoil and increased tensions for TJ and Mare as well as their close friends, Paula and Erin. As if this weren't enough with which to contend, TJ's cherished horse, Faithful Flag, develops its own health problems, and further aggravating the situation, is the appearance of TJ's father's second family. TJ's unrelenting struggle with her tenebrous childhood memories further exacerbates her already tenuous emotional state. As the story progresses, the truth of the title, Many Roads to Travel, becomes not only more apparent and striking but also more challenging and extraordinary to navigate.

Surtees and Dunne have written a novel which clearly and deftly segues from their earlier work, but it also has definitive stand-alone qualities, such as a skillfully constructed plotline, credible internal and external conflicts, and noteworthy thematic concepts. Many Roads to Travel delves further into the psyches of the lead protagonists, and the reader won't always like or agree with their actions/words but that serves to prove how involved the reader becomes with each chapter. Whereas TJ and Mare are equally tenacious and assertive, it is completely believable that each woman would grapple with coming to terms with the unequivocal realities of their situations. Although as the plot advanced, at times TJ demanded more effort from this reviewer to feel empathetic, yet it is to Surtees' and Dunne's credit that the character of TJ is so expertly and comprehensively actualized that I was able to identify with her point of view.

In addition to creating another first-rate story, the authors have confronted several thematic issues which this reviewer found refreshing and intriguing. One salient point, that disabilities do not make one less of a person, provided TJ with more than one opportunity to assess her life, her relationships, and her future. Whether she chooses to act upon her realizations presents a whole other trove of internal conflicts. As for Mare, with circumstances far beyond her command, it is the basic tenet of offering compassion and support that she must embrace. As she discovers, the simplest is often the hardest to accept; some things just can't be fixed.

Many Roads to Travel is one of those rare instances in genre writing wherein the reader has the opportunity for analysis and synthesis. It is a rather somewhat revelatory novel whose characters represent varied layers of discernment, thus affording the reader the satisfaction of thinking and responding, whether internally or with others. Instead of being a quick yet forgettable read, Many Roads to Travel has substance, it ignites awareness and reaction, and it provides the reader with a genuinely transcendent reading experience.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain

Title: Penetrate
Author: Kathleen Kelly
Publisher: Cavalier Press
ISBN: 0976566451
Pages: 286
Cost: $19.95
Genre: Adventure/Romance

Cavalier Press announced a while ago that it is going out of business, which is a loss to the industry on several counts. One of those is that Cavalier was willing to put out books that don't follow the formula present in so many lesbian books, but were more daring than the usual fare. Two of Cavalier's products, Facing Evil by CL Hart and Penetrate by Kathleen Kelly, have the definite potential of crossing over to the mainstream market as stories that happen to have lesbian characters instead of being lesbian books that have stories. Since Penetrate was one of the last books issued by Cavalier Press, it provides a fitting example of what the company was about.

Penetrate features two characters who couldn't be more different in their personalities and histories. Kali is a ruthless modern-day pirate in the Amazon region, world weary and able to kill as effortlessly as most people breathe. Her loyalty and efficiency can be bought and her personal relationships are limited to what is necessary. Maddie is an academic, a sheltered PhD who has come to the rainforest to study the environment and effects of global warming. She hasn't seen much of the world and knows even less about people. Their worlds literally collide when their ships run into each other on the Amazon River. Kali is on an assassination mission and Maddie becomes her unfortunate captive. Despite what her logic tells her, Kali doesn't immediately kill Maddie and finds herself dealing with her conflicting feelings about that, while she flees from the wrath of the cartel for her failed mission. As they race for their lives through the Brazilian rainforest, Maddie finds herself drawn to the strange woman while facing the fact that she can never be sure that Kali isn't going to kill her the next minute.

The most interesting character in the book is Kali. She is tough on the outside and tough on the inside. Yet, her story is revealed in a way to almost, but not quite, make her a sympathetic figure. She isn't a redeemed character, but she is brash, intelligent and daring. Maddie's character is less well drawn or perhaps less admirable, in an odd sort of way. Her naivete` is almost irritating, but she develops a loyalty to Kali that strengthens her and she is able to understand Kali for who she truly is.

Kelly has produced an excellent adventure story. It's full of drama and suspense that keeps the pages turning and the fact that her characters are lesbians is incidental to the story. The story would be just as interesting if the women were not drawn to each other in a sexual context. By the end of the book it is clear that they do love each other, but it is refreshing in that it shows that love doesn't always have a "happy" ending. Penetrate stands out as a good example of fiction writing. The lesbian characters are simply a bonus for the reader. Since the company has gone out of business, this book may be difficult to find, but it is worth the hunt.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Storms of Change
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN: 1933110570
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,;
Price: $15.95   Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance

From the opening chapter of Storms of Change, Radclyffe sets a very different tone than the rest of her Provincetown romance series. The novel is much more emotionally intense than the first three books, but the romance is just as rewarding. Tense drama permeates this book as a new set of characters, Rica Grechi and Carter Wayne, share center stage with Reese and Tory's story. An FBI/local police undercover operation unfolds while Reese is contemplating her future role in the Iraq War. Radclyffe repeatedly takes the reader down unexpected paths, surprising us more than once in the book. For this reason, as a reviewer, I will not give away any plot details as it would ruin the impact of this powerful romance.

Radclyffe is at the top of her game with Storms of Change as she continually builds anticipation throughout the novel. She gives us parallel plots, smoothly transitioning back and forth, and advances the story better than many lesbian fiction authors today. Her timing and pacing are in step throughout, and Radclyffe knows intuitively when to introduce plot elements, when to escalate, and when to close. This is the first time that as a reader I was not only tempted to read the ending, but I actually turned to the last page and had to stop myself; usually I have more restraint. The introduction of new secondary characters adds richness and fullness to the story, but Radclyffe never forgets the strength of her main protagonists, spotlighting Reese's and Tory's lives and the tough decisions that await them.

Radclyffe excels at the language of love, emphasizing family and home, but in Storms of Change, she adds moral dilemmas to the mix. The novel reveals the gray areas in life, how family and duty to one's profession can conflict, how the distance between the truth and lies is not very far, and how priorities are ever changing. As readers, we pause and reflect about how choices in life are not always easy, and we cannot judge others too quickly. The chief dilemma in Storms of Change is that to accept one's loved ones for who they are, while maintaining one's own values, is a very personal and lonely decision. No one can make these choices for us.

Storms of Change fulfills all of the promises we expect from a Radclyffe romance, but with a strong hint that we have not heard the last of the Provincetown characters. If you have read the first three books in the series, seize this breathtaking new addition. If you have not read Safe Harbor, Beyond the Breakwater and Lambda Literary Award winner Distant Shores, Silent Thunder, do not walk, but run to your nearest bookstore and snatch up this awesome collection.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: True Colours, 3rd edition
Authors: Karen Surtees & Nann Dunne
ISBN: 978-1-932300-52-9
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises (Yellow Rose Books)
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $16.95
Pages: 239
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian

True Colours, 3rd edition, by Karen Surtees and Nann Dunne tells the story of TJ Meridian's return to her old hometown, Meridianville, Texas. Having left after her father closed down his ranch and meat-packing business, she now returns to a community consumed with hate and distrust. Her father's actions brought economic disaster to the town, and people are still holding a grudge of monumental proportions toward the Meridian family. In an effort to re-focus her life and make amends, TJ opens the ranch and modernizes the plant. When her horse needs medical attention, Dr. Mare Gillespie arrives to treat the creature. Mare knows the past relationship of the Meridians and the townspeople and has little sympathy for the return of the prodigal daughter. Slowly over time, TJ and Mare develop a friendship as each woman is drawn to the other. A life-threatening accident, some long lost relatives, and a few new friends all add to the mix which makes for a most entertaining and absorbing reading experience.

This third edition of True Colours shows a deeper clarity of writing, a substantiality of style, and a rhythmic, yet leisurely, approach to storytelling. The narration flows naturally; it never becomes intrusive. Richly resonant dialogue which realistically and credibly reflects the characters suffuses the storyline. Too often this reviewer has become distracted by stilted mundane speech which makes a chore of reading rather than the joy it should be. True Colours steers clear of the vapid, the counterfeit, and the gratingly pedestrian. These women verbally interact; they communicate with each other in a manner that genuine people use.

Surtees and Dunne have created conflicts both external and internal, and for this reviewer, the latter was most compelling, irresistible, and significant. The action scenes are well written and tense. However, the inner conflicts that both TJ and Mare have to overcome, accept, or refute make this novel so much more than the typical or usual novel found in the romance genre. Its depth of personal discovery, realization, and fulfillment transcends the ordinary and stereotypical depictions too often accepted as good writing.

True Colours is the type of book that completely involves and immerses the reader. It isn't very often one finds a novel that honestly and realistically deals with women and disabilities. TJ is most definitely a three-dimensional character. Her flaws, as well as her virtues, are on display. Sometimes endearing and other times infuriating, TJ envelops the reader in her world while creating a genuine empathy within the reader. This is the hallmark of a memorable and fascinating character, one who remains with you long after the cover is closed. Surtees and Dunne have constructed the story so that a sequel (Many Roads to Travel) will be the natural and obvious path to take to follow TJ's and Mare's life experiences. However, whether you read the sequel or not, no one should miss the opportunity to read True Colours, 3rd edition. A genuinely consummate work of fiction comes along all too rarely.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain

Title: Turn Back Time
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN: 1-933110-341
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95    Pages: 277
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian/Romance





One of the most prolific authors in the romance genre, Radclyffe has written her twenty-fourth romance novel which is entitled Turn Back Time. She has also returned to familiar ground, both in writing and in life, the hospital setting. Pearce Rifkin, Acting Chief Surgical Resident, and Wynter Thompson, surgical resident, are practicing at the same hospital, University Hospital, in Philadelphia. Pearce has a life plan which does not include any serious entanglements to impede her success. She is determined to follow in her father's footsteps in the medical field. Wynter is filling a last-minute vacancy created by the early departure of another resident. She is also coping with a failed relationship and the responsibilities of being a parent to her three-year-old daughter, Ronnie. However, it isn't until the two women meet that they recognize each other from a brief interlude they had four years earlier. Both of them have changed considerably in a variety of ways, and it is this circumstance that will propel both doctors down a similar yet unexpected path.

Radclyffe is in the forefront of authors who consistently create memorable characters. Despite the human frailties and flaws each woman possesses, the reader has no difficulty in conjuring up empathy both for their situations and their choices. The interaction between Pearce and Wynter gradually escalates, thus revealing the many facets of each personality. This unfolding of layers is what keeps the reader engaged. The author eschews the obvious and demonstrates a keen insight into logical, coherent, and realistic character development. The secondary characters are equally crafted in their credibility.

One interesting aspect of this story is the relationship between Pearce and Ronnie, Wynter's young daughter. The façade of the cool and detached Dr. Rifkin becomes less formidable when she is in the child's company. Pearce begins to consider the possibility of parenting being within the realm of possibility. She re-evaluates the prospect of combining a career, a relationship, and a family. It is also captivating to witness Wynter's reactions to Pearce's efforts to forge a relationship with the three-year-old.

The romance genre is rife with authors who spin a decent story, yet lack the expertise to instill definitive verisimilitude in both their characters and their actions. The many novels Radclyffe has written attest to her skill at crafting a superlative story populated with characters one would want to meet, spend time with, or have over for a meal. Romance novels are about the people above all else. After all, one wants that happy ending. However, if one or both of the protagonists do not gain entrée to the mind and heart of the reader, then a true romance has not been achieved. It is always a given that when reading a Radclyffe romance, the reader is assured that the story will eventually creatively distill the essence of each character, whether it be through superlative dialogue or exceptional narrative. Turn Back Time continues this attribute.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain

Title: Turn Back Time
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN: 1-933110-341
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95    Pages: 277
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian/Romance





If you are a fan of Radclyffe's books, you may find that Turn Back Time seems very familiar. Not only are the characters standard Radclyffe fare, but the plot is very reminiscent of Fated Love.

Pearce Rifkin and Wynter Thompson are surgical residents who met years before in a brief encounter. They felt an immediate attraction, but circumstances were against them. Now they find themselves in the same hospital where Pearce is the Chief Surgical Resident and trying to compete with the reputation of her father, a brilliant surgeon. Wynter has fallen behind in her residency due to complications in her personal life and she's determined to catch up and show her skills have not suffered. As can be expected, the two find themselves drawn to each other, but any chance they might have at romance has to compete with their personal situations. Romance isn't what either one planned on, but it may be what they need. When they find their lives are about to be ripped apart again, the question becomes whether or not they can stand up to the forces working around them and find the happiness they see is possible.

Turn Back Time and Fated Love have many similarities. Both have two doctors who work together on the same team. Both have one of the doctors have a daughter that the other doctor develops a relationship with. Both have one of the doctors face a life threatening condition. The stories are also dissimilar. In one book both doctors are surgeons and in the other they are both Emergency Room physicians. There is no looming father figure in Fated Love and the danger in that book is a medical condition, where the danger in Turn Back Time comes from an attack. Once you have read one though, you can't read the other without a feeling that you've already been in this story.

Turn Back Time is very expectable and predictable, but a nice read for a long afternoon or evening. It's just that there is nothing new in this story, nothing daring. It's technically well crafted and follows the same pattern as most of Radclyffe's books, which means you can expect a nice romance, but nothing exciting or different. Some people read books for exactly that type of experience. They want to read a pleasant story with a happy ending. In that case, Radclyffe will never fail the reader. If you're looking for a book that intrigues you or draws you into the story though, read this one and keep looking.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Whitewater Rendezvous
Author: Kim Baldwin
ISBN: 1-933110-38-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,; or
Price: $15.95   Pages: 240
Genre: Romance





Whitewater Rendezvous, set in the remote Odakonya River area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is the adventurous love story of two disparate and intensely dynamic women, Megan Maxwell and Chaz Herrick. Megan, the driven vice-president of World News Central television news, is known as the Royal Ice Bitch. It is a moniker not totally undeserving for the workaholic. Chaz, the attractive easygoing Alaskan tour guide, on the other hand, is content and treasures living apart from the raucous tumult of the general population. After these two intelligent, resolute, and witty women meet, Megan begins to think that perhaps losing that bet with her Chicago Broads in Broadcasting pals to join them for an Alaskan kayaking adventure may not be as disconcerting as she had thought. Matters are further complicated by harrowing Arctic storms, seemingly incompatible priorities, and the entertaining clash between two very tenacious and assertive women.

Setting plays a key role in a well-crafted story of this type. Baldwin obviously knows her material, and with great care and skill, has transcribed the aura of an Arctic night sky and the grandeur of Alaskan isolation to the written page. The reader's senses are vividly awakened which allows that reader to become one with the environment—not always an easy task for an author to create.

A hallmark of great writing is consummate characterization, and Whitewater Rendezvous does not disappoint. This novel is populated with round, not flat, characters. Each is delineated and developed with expertise and style. From the imagery to the diction to the syntax used, the personalities of the major characters are constructed in a credible, lucid, and realistic manner. Megan's workaholic focus is clearly articulated, making it simple for the reader to empathize. Chaz's free spirit is infectious, thus making it equally simple for the reader to identify with that desire to throw caution to the wind and escape. One aspect of Baldwin's writing is the absence of the stereotypical, and her characters in this story display that yet again.

Whitewater Rendezvous captures the reader from the very first page. It totally immerses and envelops the reader in the Arctic experience. The novel deals with basic truths. What is important in life? Is there a soul mate somewhere out there for me? Can opposites truly attract? Superior chapter endings, stylishly and tightly written sentences, precise pacing, and exquisite narrative all coalesce to produce a novel of first-rate quality, both in concept and expression. Whitewater Rendezvous is Kim Baldwin's third novel. (Hunter's Pursuit and Force of Nature) The author's technique, range, and originality of composition continue to expand and flourish with each effort. This reviewer highly recommends Whitewater Rendezvous and eagerly looks forward to Baldwin's next novel, Flight Risk, to be published in February 2007.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain

Our Reviewers
Bios of Authors

Our Reviewers

Sandra Barret
Sandra Barret grew up in New England, where she spent more years than she cares to mention as a software programmer. She lives with her partner, two children, and a menagerie of pets. Sandra has been an avid reader of fantasy, horror, and lesbian romance. This interest has led her to pen her own creations in novel and short story format.

Contact her at

Anna Furtado
Book Reviewer for Just About Write, The East Bay Voice, and The L-Word Literature section; Author of The Heart's Desire – Book One of The Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS Goldie Award Finalist.

Anna's Web site: Contact her at

Arlene Germain
For many years a teacher of English and Creative Writing, Arlene Germain lives with her partner in Massachusetts. She is a book reviewer for The Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, the Just About Write Newsletter/E-zine, The Crown—the Golden Crown Literary Society newsletter, and The

Arlene is also a fiction editor. Contact her at

Kathi Isserman
Kathi lives with her partner and two very spoiled cats outside Washington, D.C. When not reading all kinds of books, she can be found on the golf course attempting to hit that little white ball. Her reviews can also be read at,, and The Independent Gay Writer.

Write to her at

Lori L. Lake
Minnesotan Lori L. Lake is the author of the Gun series, Different Dress, Ricochet in Time, and a book of short stories called Stepping Out. She also edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters. Lori is currently at work on her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, which comes out in February. She teaches fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and often reviews books for various print and online journals.

Contact Lori at

Lynne Pierce
Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia who has spent the last thirty-two years trying to convince high school students that history is relevant to their lives and leading them through the process of learning to think for themselves about issues. Her main hobby since the age of five has been reading and she has spent the last ten years consuming every work of lesbian fiction that she can get her hands on. Lynne's reviews also can be read at
lesfic_unbound and

You can reach Lynne at

Cheri Rosenberg
Cheri Rosenberg is a reviewer for Independent Gay Writer, Just About Write, Midwest Book Review, The L Life, and other venues posting book reviews for the lesbian community.

Cheri's published works, written under the pen name Cheri Crystal, can be found in Lessons in Love: Erotic Interludes 3 and After Midnight: True Lesbian Erotic Confessions. She is currently writing her second novel while adding the finishing touches to her first.

When she is not working part-time as a Consultant Dietitian in a nursing home, she is reading, reviewing, and writing lesbian fiction. Cheri is an "activist reader," a wife and mother to a wonderful husband and three terrific children, and she maintains that if more heterosexuals would read the works of lesbian authors they would realize they are talented, intelligent, articulate, admirable, and their books are equally as praiseworthy as anything published for the mainstream market in the literary world. Cheri hopes to enlighten the world and make it a more tolerant place where lesbian fiction is every bit as respected as straight fiction.

Contact her at

Author Bios

Sarah Aldridge
Sarah Aldridge is the pseudonym of Anyda Marchant who spent the forty years of her working life in New York City and Washington, D.C. as a lawyer in both public and private practice. Upon retiring in 1972, she began a career as a writer and publisher. She originated the Naiad Press and was co-founder when it was incorporated in 1974. In 1995 she and her lifelong companion Muriel Crawford withdrew as co-owners of the Naiad Press and founded a new publishing venture, A&M Books, which thus became the publisher of the Sarah Aldridge novels. Journalist Andrea Peterson has called her books "perhaps the most substantive and enjoyable lesbian novels ever written." Anyda and Muriel lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, until their deaths. Anyda passed away in January and Muriel in June of this year.

L-J Baker
L-J Baker lives in New Zealand, but spends a distressing proportion of her waking life in worlds that don't exist beyond her own imagination. She is civilly united with an amazing woman. Alas, L-J has not done any of those jobs that make authors' bios sound fascinating. Her non-writerly incarnation was as a research scientist--which is more geek than glamour. She has lived in the United States and has attended the Viable Paradise Writers' Workshop on Martha's Vineyard.

Kim Baldwin
Kim Baldwin was a 2005 Golden Crown Literary Society Award finalist for Hunter's Pursuit in the Intrigue/Mystery category. She and her partner live in the home of her dreams-a snug cabin surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods and abundant wildlife. She started writing fiction in 2001 after a 20-year career in journalism. She's discovered that she much prefers novels to news, and small town life to rush hour traffic, but wishes there were more ethnic restaurants in the boonies. Nature, romance and adventure are passions that make frequent appearances in her stories.

Nann Dunne
Nann Dunne has been a professional editor for more than twenty-five years and began writing fiction about eight years ago. She's had four books published: co-author with Karen (Surtees) King of True Colours and its sequel, Many Roads to Travel; author of the mystery, Staying in the Game, and of the recently published historical adventure/romance, The War Between the Hearts.

Nann's short stories are: "The Broken Teddy Bear," in January 2006 issue of Khimairal Ink Magazine; and "Dominoes," in the Romance for LIFE anthology.

In addition, Nann is editor-in-chief and publisher of this online newsletter/ezine, Just About Write, and currently edits for several publishers as well as doing freelance editing.

Kathleen Kelly
Kathleen Kelly was born in Colorado, went to high school in California and graduated from college in Arizona, where she now lives. She has worked in several industries as a writer and graphic designer and describes herself as a techno geek. Kathleen enjoys wakeboarding, skiing, and hiking. She has several pets and helps out with animal charities. Penetrate is her first novel.

KG MacGregor
KG MacGregor is the author of several novels and was born in North Carolina. She is a former teacher who has a PhD in mass communication. She has worked in market research for commercial clients in the publishing, television and travel industries, but now she divides her time between Florida and North Carolina. When she isn't writing, she is probably traveling or on a hiking trail, sometimes both.

Radclyffe is the author of over twenty lesbian romances and anthologies including the
2005 Lambda Literary Award winners Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments, ed. with Stacia Seaman and the romance, Distant Shores, Silent Thunder. She is the recipient of the 2003 and 2004 Alice B. Readers' award, a 2005 Golden Crown Literary Society Award winner in both the romance category (Fated Love) and the mystery/intrigue/action category (Justice in the Shadows), and a 2006 GCLS Award finalist in the romance category (Distant Shores, Silent Thunder) and winner in the mystery/intrigue/action category (Justice Served).

Radclyffe has selections in multiple anthologies including Call of the Dark and The Perfect Valentine (Bella Books), Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 and After Midnight (Cleis), First-Timers and Ultimate Undies: Erotic Stories About Lingerie and Underwear (Alyson), and Naughty Spanking Stories 2 and Sex and Candy (Pretty Things Press). She is also the president of Bold Strokes Books, a lesbian publishing company.

Karen Surtees
Karen Surtees (formerly writing as Karen King) is in the British military and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She says English was "the only subject I was good in at school and college, though I have real problems with my spelling and punctuation."

Karen says that most scifi/fantasy TV programs will catch her attention, and she loves to read, with her "favorite authors being too varied to mention."

Karen currently resides on Gibralter but can normally be found in Plymouth in the southwest of England.

Ali Vali
Ali Vali was born in Cuba, but now lives in New Orleans with her partner. She draws inspiration from the people she's met in the Big Easy and from her family and their traditions. Her first novel was The Devil Inside and the sequel to that book, The Devil Unleashed, will be released in December 2006.