The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove
by Karen Hawkins
Dove Pond Series - Book 3
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: August 15, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
Once again, Karen Hawkins quickly swept me into all the ups and downs of life in Dove Pond, and within the Dove family, holding me there, happily flipping pages to discover what would happen next, until the very end.
These books are character driven and oh, what flawed, complex, delightfully complicated characters they are. Do I like them? Do I despise them? Do they make me laugh? Cry? Cheer for them or want to toss them off a cliff? Yes, to all of the above. Hawkins' characters are realistic. They're relatable. They embody emotions - and issues - many of us face in our daily lives. They're also quirky, sometimes devious, beautifully developed by the author, and always entertaining.
I love Hawkins' sense of humor which is on full display in this book, especially in the scenes featuring Angela. Her interactions with both Ella and with Gray had me frequently chuckling and often laughing out loud while those with her daughter brought a depth of emotion that gave substance, tension, and hope to a fraught relationship.
There are so many layers to Ella and Gray. I enjoyed their second chance at romance. While not the primary focus of this book, it holds a fair amount of weight in the overall story, especially as it relates to Ella's personal evolution, and comes with a happy ending. I appreciate that Hawkins devoted time to each character's issues and their individual growth as well as the slow progression into becoming a romantic couple. By the end of the book, I was firmly in their corner. And, bonus! Who knew Gray would come with a Highland Coo calf who is most definitely "Adorbs." I can't wait to see more of these three in future books (hopefully).
I've been reading Karen Hawkins for a long time. Her Scottish historical romances are among my favorites but this new contemporary fiction series with romantic elements, family dynamics, and a touch of magical realism is hitting all of my happy spots. Hawkins' Dove Pond stories touch my heart, tickle my funny bone, and leave me eager for more. I highly recommend this book and this series.