By Nell Carson
Publisher: Avalon Romance
Release Date: April 6, 2012
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?