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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review - - The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House
By Nell Carson
Publisher:  Avalon Romance
Release Date:  April 6, 2012





After escaping an abusive marriage, Greta Kendall returns home to the small Colorado mountain town of Spector where she runs a bridal shop out of her family's lovely Queen Anne Victorian home that she shares with her mother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's.  She's worked hard to build her business, worked hard to regain her self-confidence but a ruthless developer by the name of Stephanie Harwood is on the verge of taking it all away.  If the town council rules in Stephanie's favor, the beautiful home that has been in her family for generations, that gives her increasingly bewildered mother a sense of security, will be demolished along with her dreams...all for a new shopping mall.

Gray Daniels has known Stephanie Harwood since they were children and is engaged to marry her in a few short weeks.  So why, when he takes his grandmother's priceless gown to Greta Kendall's shop to have it restored (at his fiancee's request), does he experience a sudden, and intense, attraction to the lovely bridal shop owner?  If he's deeply in love with his fiancee, he shouldn't be having these feelings for someone else and with each encounter, his attraction to Greta grows.  As he watches Stephanie maneuver through her legal battle with Greta, he begins to realize that the girl he fell in love with all those years ago has evolved into a woman he doesn't like - or respect - much at all while the woman who is struggling to save her home and her business while lovingly caring for her mother is someone he'd like to know a whole lot better.

Gray is one of the good guys, though it takes Greta a while to see that.  Yes, he treats her and her mother with care and respect, he seems to understand her anguish at the thought of losing her home and there's no denying she's attracted to him (though she'd never act upon that attraction while he's engaged to another woman) but he's still on the "other side" and that makes him her enemy - a role Stephanie has done her best to keep him in, using him in her campaign against Greta until his eyes are finally opened to what's really been going on.

Greta is one of those heroines who is much more than what you see on the surface, as many survivors of domestic abuse are.  There's a whole lot of turmoil and doubt swirling deep inside her heart and taking another chance on love may not be in the cards for her - especially when her past shows up at her door.  It will take a man with endless love, understanding and patience to win her heart.  Luckily, Gray has all three...along with a maternal co-conspirator who, in one of her lucid moments, offers the key to opening that heart for good.

This is a full-length story though it's on the short side (185 pages) which makes it perfect for a summer afternoon's reading pleasure.  It's a heartwarming, sweet (not spicy, though with plenty of sexual tension) small-town story with engaging characters, an easy reading style and a hero and heroine who are perfect for one another.  The author could have wrapped everything up with a nice, tidy bow about 25 pages from the end.  I appreciate the fact that she didn't, opting instead to keep things realistic.  It made the ending that much more satisfying.

I recommend The Gingerbread House by Nell Carson and, if you like this book, suggest you give Ms. Carson's first book, Tell-All a try too.  You can read my review here.

I received a copy of The Gingerbread House from the author for review and am giving it away to one person who leaves a comment on today's review.  So tell me, what do you most enjoy about small town romances?  Do you like them sweet, spicy or a mixture of the two?  

~PJ






29 comments:

  1. I like to read small town romances & prefer them sweet.

    Perhaps it's wrong of me to think so but a really spicy storyline just doesn't fit with my idea of a small town romance.

    This book sounds really good and I would love to read it.

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    1. Hi Kirsten!

      There's nothing wrong about wanting your small town romances to be sweet. Every reader knows what she most enjoys and isn't it wonderful that the romance genre has enough variety for everybody!

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  2. What a nice plot. I'm betting that this will be a very romantic novel to read. I love the title too. Makes me hungry. My stomach growled when I read it. :-)

    It's sad to think that there are so many women out there who really are escaping abusive marriages. To find a happy ending with someone a she can trust and love is so satisfying.

    To answer your question, I like a small town romance to be sweet. Sometimes, the spicy romances set in a small town just don't seem to belong together.

    I'm looking forward to reading "The Gingerbread House!"

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    1. Connie, it is a romantic story. Laughing at your title hunger. I confess I felt a bit of that too! LOL!

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  3. This romance sounds so special and memorable. Sweet is what I enjoy reading about. The Gingerbread House sounds wonderful.

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    1. It's a lovely read, petite. I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. This story is lovely and small town romance has that beauty that offers me a new perspective. A sweet approach always wins.

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    1. I love small town romances, probably because I grew up in a small town and have very fond memories.

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  5. This book sounds absolutely delightful, PJ. I love stories where the hero and heroine move from "enemies" to friends/lovers. Thanks for the wonderful review!

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    1. Andrea, I think you'd enjoy this one. :)

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  6. Sounds very lovely. I like the sweetness of small towns. :)

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    1. I like the sweetness of small towns. :)

      I do too, May though I also enjoy the spicy small towns of Toni Blake - probably because she's skilled at combining the spice with likeable characters and a heartwarming story.

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  7. I can take either or a mixture. I just don't care for books that get preachy lol. These characters sound like they will make this a wonderful read.

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    1. I'm not real big on the preachy ones either, catslady. I'm currently working on a review of an inspirational romance. I don't read a lot of them but I enjoyed this one a lot.

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  8. THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE sounds like a must read. I like small town romances to be sweet, with a wonderful plot like this book appears to have.

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    1. I liked the fact that while this book was sweet, it wasn't syrupy (if that makes sense) and the challenges in the characters' lives were dealt with realistically.

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  9. Small town romances gives me a chance to meet a community of people, usually. Often it's not just the main characters who come to life but the secondary ones too and their own thoughts and actions can make for very interesting storyline. If a small-town is part of a series I can even expect to see some familair faces.

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    1. Often it's not just the main characters who come to life but the secondary ones too and their own thoughts and actions can make for very interesting storyline.

      I especially enjoyed the heroine's best friend. She doesn't have a huge role in the story but her actions clearly demonstrate her loyalty to Greta in a way that I could clearly visualize. Another secondary character drawn exceptionally well is Greta's mother.

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  10. Lovely review, PJ! I'll definitely check this one out.

    I'm a big fan of small-town romances. I read a long list of such romances ranging from Debbie Macomber's sweet Cedar Cove books to Toni Blake's hot and spicy Destiny series. Most of the time when I'm given a choice, I opt for both/and rather than either/or. :)

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  11. Oh, too bad. I just checked, and there's no Kindle version.

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    1. Janga, Amazon recently purchased 3,000 titles from Avalon's backlist for kindle publication. I don't know if Carson's books will be available digitally but I've sent an email asking and will let you know what I find out.

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    2. Janga, I just heard back from Ms. Carson. The Gingerbread House and Tell-All are both scheduled to be released for Kindle by Amazon but she hasn't been given a date yet. In the meantime, she suggests that you may be able to find her books at your local library.

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    3. Thanks, PJ. I appreciate yout getting this info for me.

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  12. small town stories always makes me wonder and want to read about the secondary characters :p

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  13. I think small town romances should be sweet romances not spicy although I have read some of Toni Blakes books and they are pretty spicy and set in a small town and they were very good books.

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  14. I do enjoy small town stories. Small towns are special places with their own personalities. Those personalities make them an important part of the story, almost a character themselves. The relationship you describe in THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is the type I like best - realistic, sexual tension, a good protagonist or two, and a couple you can appreciate and enjoy. A nice mixture of sweet and spicy.
    Thanks for the review. This is an author I will definitely look for.

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  15. Lovely review as usual,PJ, thank you. Give me spicy with a hint of sweet and I'm happy. Since I am a big city girl, I do enyoy small town stories and series as well. This sounds like a book I'd love to read.

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  16. I like small town romances since I have never lived with one and I do like the idea of a close knit community being there for people. I think they can be sweet or spicy, whatever suits the story.

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  17. I like variety in all things, so I like both the spice & the sweet in my reading. Small towns bring the added element of a variety of characters that bring their own quirky style to the story (and an opportunity for humor which I always enjoy).

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