Reader review Touchwood This verrrrry slow burn romance is honest, beautiful and yes – sexy.

30 Years? How Can that Be?!

Karin Kallmaker Touchwood 30th Anniversary Edition 44 Comments


Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winner announced in the most recent comment.


I still can’t believe it’s been 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.” Before I had kids, you know, not that long ago except both have graduated college now… Well sh*t.

Thirty years went by really fast.

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 experiences as well. I guess it’s not all that strange that all these years later I’d resonate with Louisa more than ever before. A lot of you who read the original back in the day and this edition now have said much the same thing.

As I revisited it I fell for them both all over again. If they existed in today’s world, I decided that Louisa would have adored Gentlemen Jack. Rayann would be the Queen of #BookTok and all over Insta.

Gentleman Jack banner promo

Everyone agrees that Angela Dawe’s narration is an absolute rave. I was blown away that she captured the inflections, snark, irony, pauses, and all the rest exactly as I would have done. I think she really got me, and the characters, all in one. Plus her voice for Louisa – “knee tremblingly good” as a reviewer put it.

Want to hear it for yourself? I’m giving away a download code to a random winner who comments on this blog. The audio code is courtesy of Tantor Media and Bella Books and claimed at Audiobooks.com. If you can create an account at that site, you can use the code regardless of where you are in the world.

Audio book cover for Touchwood 30th Anniversary Edition by Karin Kallmaker, narrated by Angela Dawe

Winner drawn Jan 23. That’s this Sunday, so don’t delay! Comment about the weather, Gentleman Jack, Touchwood, how you feel about the DH rule, or whatever else might be on your mind. Keep it PG. Please note that it can take some time for your comment to appear due to moderation.

If you don’t win, don’t despair. You can get the audio version of Touchwood at all the usual places:

Copyrighted Material

Comments 44

  1. I saw Touchwood posted on a list of best ever age gap romances. Grateful to find it on Hoopla. When Louisa said, “You’ll feel better if you let go” I closed my eyes and said, “Thanks Karin.” That is what I needed to hear this afternoon. Looking forward to listening to more of Touchwood.

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    woman making excited winner gesture while looking at cell phone in a coffee shop

    Thank you all for participating in this giveaway! For the record, there were the comments you see here, plus another 12 entries by email.

    The winners of the Audible.com audio code for Touchwood 30th Anniversary Edition read by Angela Dawe is:

    Toastie Haynie

    Toastie, you’ll receive instructions on how to claim your download. Please check the email (and its spam folder) that you used to comment or is associated with your store account. Congratulations! I hope you find Angela’s narration as wonderful as I have.

    Didn’t win? Don’t despair. You can get the audio version of Touchwood via Hoopla and at all the usual places:

  3. It was such a joy to revisit an old friend. The first time I read Touchwood I was 30 and much closer to Rayann’s age and mindset. Now, thirty years later I totally identified with Louisa. I’m so glad we’ve moved past those enforced butch/fem roles and moved to a bigger tent where we’re all excepted regardless of how we present ourselves.

  4. Can’t remember if I already commented here. Just fighter good measure let me ask- will the follow up to Touchwood, Watermark be released on audio? I do hope so. I loved re-reading Toucheood after all these years and I’d love to hear it again read by Angela Dawe. She’s great.

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  5. I have gone back and re-read your catalog for various reasons….one of which is in our only face-to-face you asked about my favorite book and I answered “Paperback Romance”. I think that was the recency effect as I had just re-read it and because I felt compassion for a closeted Nic (30 years AF here). Anyway, I started over, in order, and have fallen in love with your characters anew. I am glad you revisited Rayanne and Louisa for FOTC I and II and of course Watermark. The complexity of the characters brings them so vibrantly to life. Many romance books have thin, repetitive plots and 2D portraits. Your work is always different, interesting, and fresh. Thank you. And by the way, my team is in the AL but I abhor the DH rule. Make the pitcher bat.

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      Being reread is so gratifying, and over the past 2 years a lot of readers have been picking favorite comfort books – including me. I find it interesting how differently I can feel about the same book when I’ve read them years apart. The book hasn’t changed, but what I bring to the book certainly has. It highlights how I’ve changed.

      Books are magic, and no one can change my mind! 🙂

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      P.S. I’m such a fair weather on the DH rule. Generally I think making the pitcher bat leads to some good chaos that every ball game needs. But sometimes a hitter is a joy to watch in which case I want to watch them. E.g. Harold Baines DH’d for the A’s, and I happened to be at a game where he hit 3 homers. (The A’s weren’t doing well and I think they even lost the game so Baines was the real highlight for the fans.)

      But generally, yeah, I like to see the pitcher bat.

  6. I love your work. As I have gotten older I really enjoy audible books. I read Touchwood way back then. One off my all time favorites of yours. I also read the sequel.

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      I’m a latercomer to audio too. I used to listen just on road trips, but now I find I can listen and do a little multi-tasking, like when I’m cooking or coding. If you like cozy/erudite mysteries, I adore Jenny Sterlin’s narration of the Mary Russell mysteries by Laurie R. King.

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  7. This is a favorite reread
    For me. I’d love for my first audiobook to be Touchwood.
    Enjoy all your books & stories!

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  8. I read Touchwood when it was released and then Watermark – can’t believe it’s been 30 years. The stories percolated over the years so that in mind they merged into one long book. Thanks for all your stories, but the two of these have a special place in my heart.

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  9. I just listened to my first Angela Dawe narrated book and loved it. Matching the two of you together sounds like a dream team. Can’t wait to listen!

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  10. Touchwood was the very first lesbian fiction book I ever read back in 2005. Until that point I didn’t even realize lesbian fiction existed and it opened up a whole new world for me. I will always cherish this book and the impact it had on my life. Thank you for all your stories!

    1. I’m so happy Touchwood was your breakthrough book! Mine was “All True Lovers” by Sarah Aldridge. The second one I read was Curious Wine by Katherine Forrest. And that was that – never looked back when it came to what I wanted to write.

  11. Already 30 years? Wow! Touchwood was one of my first wlw books I’ve read in English. And I loved it, as I do with many of your books. My mother language is Swiss German and in school we first learn German. But about 22 years ago I started to read in English to have access to more wlw books. And today I barely read books in German anymore.

    1. I envy your multilingual capacity! Truly, it amazes me that so much of the world speaks 2, if not 3, languages with ease. Meanwhile in the US we don’t even try to teach a second language to kids until they’re 11 or 12, which is far too late. Think of the books I could read, if only…

      I’m so glad you found the books and could enjoy them across languages.

      1. Switzerland is a special place, language wise. We are such a small country but we have 4 official languages (Swiss German, Italian, French and Romansh). In school we learn at least 2 other languages, High German and French for me who live in the Swiss German part. And then there is English most everybody wants to learn because of music and movies. So we keep learning 😁

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  12. Honestly- how does time move so quickly? Angela is an inspiration- her ability to bring sound to a book amazes me every time. Truly gifted.

  13. Touchwood was a wonderful read! I bought the 30th anniversary edition and loved every word! The fact that this story centered around a bookstore, and was an age gap romance made it that much more entertaining! Thank you for all that you do Karin Kallmaker!

  14. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years either! Have I really been reading your books for that long? But long may you reign!!

  15. I can’t believe its been 30 years either!! Have I really been reading your books that long!? But long may you reign!!

  16. I bought my copy when it was first published and still have it. I have read it several times over the years and even read it to my wife. I adore their story.

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