Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Of Literature and Lattes

How do you pick up the pieces and start again in life? In this gentle romance, a newcomer and a woman, a former local, returning to a Midwestern hometown spark a romance that helps reinvent their lives.

Readers will be eager and charmed to return to Winsome, Ill., where several characters from The Printed Letter Bookshop and a host of new ones richly populate the literary landscape that Katherine Reay (The Austen Escape) presents in Of Literature and Lattes.


Thirty-one-year-old Alyssa Harrison left Winsome on bad terms with her overbearing mother, Janet, a bookstore employee who cheated on Alyssa's dad. For several years, Alyssa worked in Silicon Valley in California at a health-centric start-up that was ultimately deemed fraudulent by the FBI. With her career in shambles and money tight, Alyssa is forced to swallow her pride and return to her childhood home in Winsome to regroup and put the pieces of her life back together. What will it take for Alyssa and her mother, living back under the same roof, to make amends and finally bury the hatchet?


As Alyssa reacclimates to the quaint small town, she frequents the coffee shop and befriends the owner, Jeremy Mitchell, a Seattle transplant who overhauls the shop into a more upscale meeting place the locals resist. Jeremy enlists Alyssa's help to drum up more business and balance the books. Along the way, he battles with his ex-wife, who tries to keep him from his seven-year-old daughter.


A budding relationship between Alyssa and Jeremy--and their quests to overcome their respective challenges--anchors the feel-good, wholesome poignancy of the narrative. Equally appealing secondary characters and storylines bind this redemptive novel's overarching themes: the power of forgiveness, friendship and love.


Of Literature and Lattes: A Novel by Katherine Reay

Thomas Nelson, $16.99 Paperback, 9780785222040, 336 pages

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (May 26, 2020), link HERE

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A Walk Along the Beach

What does it take to open your heart up to new love?  This emotionally powerful story is about a young woman who struggles with sadness and grief…and imperfections in life that challenge love.

Debbie Macomber plumbs the depths of family bonds, tackling weighty emotional issues with great sensitivity and compassion. As she cites in her introduction, A Walk Along the Beach grew out of her own despair after the death of her dear friend, romance author Christina Skye, and taking a writing sabbatical to put her grief into perspective. What evolved as a result is a story about a Washington State family riddled with losses and challenges that upend the lives of all involved.
At the age of 13, Willa became the bedrock of the Lakey family. One of three children, she grew up fast after her mother died, and her father drowned his sorrows in drink. Deferring her own dreams, Willa practically raised her charming, adventurous, younger sister, Harper--a leukemia survivor--and supported her brother, Lucas, while shouldering many responsibilities and burdens within the family. After Willa's life has finally settled down in her late 20s, she opens a quaint café, and her manageable world is rocked by the attentions of a handsome, world-traveling, NatGeo photojournalist--with a shrouded past--who frequents the coffee shop. Through some endearing sisterly goading, Harper urges Willa to take a chance on love. But is sensitive Willa ready to risk opening her heart?
Macomber (Window on the Bay) fans may be surprised by heavier themes that churn undercurrents of sadness, loss and grief. The reward, however, is fully drawn characters and conflicts that will grip readers as much as--if not more than--Macomber's usually lighter romantic fare.
A Walk Along the Beach: A Novel by Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books, $27.00 Hardcover, 9780399181368, 336 pages
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (July 17, 2020), link HERE