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Mainstream - The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe - Mary Simses

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe - Mary Simses

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe
Mary Simses
Little, Brown & Co. 2013

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe is the debut novel of corporate attorney Mary Simses.

Ruth Goddard's dramatic dying wish is for her devoted granddaughter Ellen to hand deliver a heartfelt letter that she has written to a once-treasured beau from 62 years in her past, so amidst plans for her rapidly approaching ten bridesmaids, ten groomsmen high society nuptials, successful New York real estate lawyer Ellen Branford takes a journey out of her comfort zone of wealth, power and success, to Beacon, Maine, the cozy, relaxing town where her grandmother once lived.  Immediately her privacy is shattered, when overcome by the nostalgia of viewing her grandmother's childhood home, she crashes through an old dock, and plunges into the biting ocean.  While fighting the rip tide, she is rescued by the athletic handsome hero Roy, of no immediate last name.  (You immediately see where this is going.)  Kindle version at Amazon

A curious passerby snaps a photo of them in a “thank you” embrace.  The Beacon Bugle does a complete cover story that sets the town abuzz, as Ellen's introduction to the community literally makes headlines.

Similar misunderstandings and amusing mishaps occur, as the town's aura and ambiance influence her to act out of character, and smoothly adapt to the life of the locals.

During all the unwanted celebrity attention, Ellen discovers that Chet Cummings, the letter's intended recipient, died a few months earlier.  However, the ever-appealing Roy, and other townsfolk hold important keys to Gran's history in Beacon as well as her unexplained departure.

Enter Ellen's mother, and Hayden Croft, her law partner and fiance, and you have an interesting mix of characters, agendas, family secrets, and desires.  Here we realize that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, or in this case, the blueberry doesn't fall too far from the bush.

Smooth and straightforward, The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe is sentimental but not syrupy.  It does have a certain predictability, but that and the simplicity of the characters are easily overlooked because is an enjoyable, heartwarming novel.

The book, however,  does not sufficiently explain why some family secrets are kept under wraps, and why a life-altering decision is made in the first place.  Characters are interesting, but only the jilted lovers evoke sympathy.

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe illustrates the lessons of following your heart, not living with regret, and going with the flow of the unexpected turns that life can throw your way.  It is the perfect novel to enjoy while relaxing on the deck on a warm afternoon, or beside a cozy fire.

It is an enjoyable first book.

J Curran

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