Maybe Next Time by Karin Kallmaker

Maybe Next Time by Karin Kallmaker is a novel filled with yearning and loss and the poor decisions of youth.

The story is about Sabrina Starling, a brilliant violinist whose relationship with the violin is often detrimental to her relathionships with the people around her and yet it is the only way that she feels she can truly express herself.

The story swtiches between Sabrina in the present as she is travelling home for a funeral, and her memories of her childhood and the only woman who has even broken her heart, her first love, Jorie.

The journey is often painful and sad but so worth going on. Kallmaker rolled up her sleaves for this one and takes us right to the edge of an overwhemling pain, loss and heartbreak and then guides us right back again to a happy ending. If there is one thing I can guarantee with this book it is that you will feel a lot while reading it.

The Writing Style

Kallmaker wrote a single point of view novel. Everything is seen through Sabrina’s lens. Every moment is experienced from her point of view and this means that we are relying on Sabrina’s ability to grow and to learn in order to move the story forward. This is not an easy technique to master, especially when your story consists of an inner journey filled with memories and replayed moments. I wasn’t worried, though, because it is a Kallmaker after all and that woman has some serious writing chops.

Kallmaker’s research for this book was brilliant as she immerses us in the Hawaiian culture of family and home and then in the classical music culture of excellence and money. The juxtaposing worlds resonate deeply as the perfect setting for the conflict that occurs within Sabrina.

The Pros

This is a beautifully written story. It is not a traditional romance, even though most of the story revolves around a romance between Sabrina and Jorie.

It does have a happy ending and it is completely unique. You won’t read a novel like this every day.

The Cons

Don’t expect a traditional romance. It is not that. It is a book of self-discovery and of learning to be okay with yourself and thereby learning to let love in.

I would also say that while it has a happy ending I wasn’t able to linger quite long enough in that happy moment before the book ended, especially after such a tortured journey.

The Conclusion

Maybe Next Time by Karin Kallmaker is a brilliant book. I loved every moment of it. It tormented me as I read and I felt every painful moment as if it were my own.

If you want something that is deeper than that traditional romance then this is your book. If you enjoy reading about women who overcome their pain then this is for you. If you want something that is so beautifully written that it is almost painful, then get this book.

Excerpt from Maybe Next Time by Karin Kallmaker

“Ms. Starling, you’ve got six claim checks, but I’ve only got five bags. What’s missing?”

Bree stared fixedly at the skycap but could still see the bag in question out of the corner of her eye, circling on the baggage claim conveyor. The violin case was soon going to be the only unclaimed item.

Walk away, she told herself. It’s that easy.

She’d never checked her instrument through the regular baggage service before, but this time she had hoped for fate’s intervention. Luggage went missing all the time. Items could be crushed beyond recognition. But the violin had survived. Even the fates wouldn’t take pity on her, not that there was any reason that they should.

She could have left it behind, she told herself. It would be as easy as, say, leaving her skin behind.

“Oh.” The round face split into a wide smile. “The violin, of course. I’ll take good care of it.”

He held it out, but she gestured at the cart. She would not touch it herself. If she didn’t touch it she could pretend the pain wasn’t there.

PS This beginning made it onto my top 10 book beginnings list

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Bits and Bobs

  • AISN number: B00ATSKP2G
  • Publisher: Bella Books

Karin Kallmaker Online

Note: I received a free review copy of this book for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

About the author

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Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born