Sunday, August 19

Sugar - Karin Kallmaker

Aspiring cake maker Sugar Sorenson has put everything on the line, so when the oven in her illegally-let garage apartment starts a fire, she fears she's lost everything she owns. As the flames are still being quenched she meets three women - Gantry from Victims' Services, fire officer Charlie, and TV producer Emily, who was going to do a story of Sugar's cakes. All three are interested in Sugar, and she has a little trouble choosing between them, before realising each of them has something to offer - lust, friendship and love.
Along the way Sugar comes out to her religious grandmother, reaches a new understanding with her three older sisters, gains self-confidence, spectacularly launches her career, makes peace with her ex-lover, and finds new love.
And that's what I had a problem with. The character of Sugar (name excepted - something I'll return to shortly) is engaging and interesting, and the first half of the story was, too. But everything seems to slip too neatly into place, and the novel ends with every loose end not only tied up but arranged in a metaphorical bow.
I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept that, out of the blue, three potential suitors come knocking, though their all being interested in Sugar is a little Sookie Stackhousesque. And I can buy a woman named Sugar, and even a cake decorating Sugar (just). But I have trouble with a woman named Sugar (her given name, not a nickname) who has sisters named Patty, Rose and Quinn. I can't articulate precisely what I mean, but it's something in the ballpark of: parents usually name their children within a similar naming framework. A random polling of friends and a couple of passing co-workers gives me - Daniel, Joseph, Gregory and Natasha; Amanda and Michael; Sally and Felicity; Aaron, Thomas, Phoebe and Imogen; Grace and Charlie; Elizabeth, Lucy, Thomas, Michael and Gabrielle; Jacqui, Simon, Marcus and Benjamin. I suspect I'm giving this a leetle too much thought! That said, I half-suspect Kallmaker called her heroine "Sugar" just so the novel blurb could end "... [the three women want] Sugar in the morning, Sugar in the evening and Sugar at dinner time." Eh.
I'll probably check out another Kallmaker romance, but only if my local library has it and if I happen to stumble across it. - Alex

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