Taking Sides by Kathleen KnowlesTaking Sides by Kathleen Knowles is a butch/femme, opposites attract romance that takes place against the backdrop of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Trevor Connelly is a seasoned strategist who’s brought to Indiana to help a local LGBT organization lobby against the religious freedom act that’s popular among right-wing evangelicals and is sure to be signed by Governor Mike Pence if and when it crosses his desk. Trevor won’t be in town for long, so any liaisons with women will have to be short and sweet, without any feelings to complicate things—just like always.

Gail Moore is a librarian who enjoys her quiet life living with her mother in Indianapolis. When her cousin, an out and proud lesbian who leads the Indiana Equal Rights Advocates, asks her to help lobby against the RFRA, she reluctantly agrees. Gail’s mother knows she’s gay, but their “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to Gail’s sexuality means her involvement in the fight shakes up their relationship. Gail can’t help her growing attraction to Trevor, even if she knows Trevor is everything she’s not—atheist, living out and proud, and without any apparent desire for a life partner. Can two women so different truly come together?

The Characters

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more different set of characters in an opposites attract pairing. And yet, Gail and Trevor very obviously care for each other, even when they think they’re only having a fling. They have such major differences that both women need to make serious compromises and do a lot of changing and growing to get to their happily ever after.

The Writing Style

The story moves along at a good pace and keeps things interesting even when the characters are in the thick of politics.

The Pros

It was interesting to get deeper insight into how the religious right is working to strip protections away from LGBT people. I also appreciated seeing what kind of work goes into lobbying and the good that organizations like PFLAG do.

The Cons

As someone from an evangelical family, some of the scenes between Gail and her mother, Sarah, and also between them and people from Sarah’s church, hit a little too close to home.

The Conclusion

If you’re a fan of romance and politics, you’ll want to check out Taking Sides.

Excerpt from Taking Sides by Kathleen Knowles

“Have you ever gone to church?” Gail asked.

“When I was young.”

“And?” Gail knew she was being nosy, but it suddenly seemed vital that she sort out exactly what sort of spiritual beliefs or practices Trevor might have.

“My parents belonged to an evangelical church in Fresno so I had to go with them. Look, could we change the subject?”

“All right.” Gail said, but her curiosity still simmered. However, why she needed to know was still a mystery since they were strictly temporary acquaintances.

Trevor seemed to be struggling with what to say next. “Are you planning to go over to the statehouse when the Senate holds the final vote?”

“I haven’t thought about it, but I suppose so, sure.” Gail loved that Trevor wanted her to go. But she’d have to take off work, and automatically, she didn’t want to do it. Yet Trevor was asking her, so that made a big difference.

“Great.” Trevor looked relieved. “And maybe we could go out after?”

“Are you asking me on a date?” Gail said with a trace of humor.

Trevor’s mouth slowly formed into a rakish grin. “Maybe. Why don’t you wait and see? We could be surrounded by a bunch of people.”

“I look forward to it,” Gail said. She meant it.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781626398764
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Kathleen Knowles Online

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