Book Reviews

Captain of Industry by Karin Kallmaker at Bella Books

Genre Lesbian / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by A.L. Brooks on 10-July-2016

Book Blurb

The world is at Jennifer Lamont’s feet—right where she wants it. She has made breaking hearts a blood sport, and the cool, calculated use of other people’s backs has led to the stardom she has craved from the first time she heard applause. Lust or fear is all she has ever believed she could see in the eyes of others. 

Suzanne Mason has built the enviable life she was always told smart geeks could never have. Fortune, fame and the beautiful girls usually reserved for captains of football teams are all hers. She has everything she ever wanted, except the one woman who is no one’s trophy. 

Expert combatants in the games of life know there can only be one winner. Regardless of the scorching attraction between them, the game of love is no different, is it?

Book Review

The latest offering from Karin Kallmaker tells the story of Suzanne and Jennifer, two women around the age of forty at the top of their respective games, who have both come to the realization that fame and fortune may not be all it’s cracked up to be if you still go home alone nearly every night. Jennifer has previously appeared in Kallmaker’s ‘Stepping Stone’, and a few of Kallmaker’s prior characters make cameo appearances in this book as friends of Suzanne, which was a nice touch.

Suzanne is a tech geek who has made a fortune doing what she loves best – finding and capitalising on new technology. She’s totally out of the closet and always has been. Jennifer is a top actress and model who has clawed her way up the hard way in an unforgiving business. She is totally closeted and always has been.

As the story develops in a series of flashbacks, it becomes clear that Suzanne and Jennifer had a fling twenty years previously which Jennifer ran from when she thought that being openly gay would kill any chances she had of being taken seriously as an actress. She broke Suzanne’s heart and—brutally—never looked back. Over the years their paths recross, which only leads to more hurt for Suzanne when each time she finds herself unable to resist Jennifer’s charms.

Though I can’t claim to have read every book by Kallmaker, this is something quite different from the other books of hers I have read. There’s a bitterness to this that’s hard to take sometimes, however realistic it is. The hurt Jennifer causes Suzanne is painful to witness, but as I learnt more about Jennifer and her struggles, I couldn’t help but be sympathetic to her situation, if not to her way of dealing with it. What was also interesting was the development Suzanne went through, in her own acceptance of how she may have played a part in pushing Jennifer away by treating her as no more than a potential trophy wife. Their story is a hard one – there are few genuinely happy moments for them in the first half of the book. They are almost constantly at loggerheads, with cutting remarks and awkward situations abounding.

In the second half, when it becomes clearer what path they may be following toward a happier future, I found it easier to relax into the story being told. In part this was because of their character development from selfish twenty-somethings, to mature forty-year-olds with much more life experience behind them. But mostly it was down to Kallmaker’s skill as a writer. For as much as I thought I disliked both women for different reasons, Kallmaker sucked me in with deeper character analysis that left me cheering them both on in the last few chapters.

This is most definitely not a typical hearts-and-flowers romance. It is significantly more than that and well worth a read as a result.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Bella Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 304 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-June-2016
Price $9.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback
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