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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happily Ever After with Blueberries on Top!

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & CafeThe Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My paperback copy was a Goodreads giveaway. An easy summer read about an engaged Manhattan lawyer is designer clothes carrying an expensive Nikon arriving in a small coastal Maine town, a tourist magnet. She is on a mission given her by her dying grandmother, to deliver a letter to a man in her grandmother's hometown. The letter is an apology for something that transpired between the two and Ellen feels an obligation to deliver it and at the same time learn something of her grandmother's early days growing up in this small town.

On her first day, Ellen trespasses on a rotting dock, falls through and it carried by a rip tide out into the depths. She is rescued by a local carpenter, Roy, around whose neck she throws her arms and upon whose lips she plants a strong kiss once he has gotten her safely to land once more.

Needless to say, Ellen being a tourist, though with local if old connections to the town, acts touristy and is called out kiddingly by Roy and Paula, the owner of the B and B in which Ellen is staying. Both Ellen's big city personality and the Mainiac local personalities are well developed. After staying overlong in Maine, Ellen is joined by her law partner and fiancé, Hayden who is from a prominent family and is politically ambitious. His obvious distain for the backwoods area and folks is well described. The reaction of the two when visiting an obviously undereducated impoverished local in her trailer home is spot on. They are afraid of the place and the woman, Sugar, and also quite ready to cheat her of the money she hopes to earn selling Ellen's grandmother's paintings, which have sat in her home and family for over 60 years.

At some point, Ellen's mother, the daughter of the painting grandmother and her doctor husband arrives on the scene as well. Both she and Ellen are quite capable of letting down their hair and blending in with the locals at the Antler's once they've had a few drinks.

There is an underlying sense of condescension toward the place, the accommodations at the hotel, the people that kept nagging at me throughout the story. Reading another reviewer referring to the room as shabby clarified the feeling for me. As a result the rating of the book is lower than I might have given it.

In the end, Hayden loses to Roy but living in a similar area of Vermont--lakeside rather than Oceanside--I wonder if the uneducated though successful builder and the Exeter and law school grad, who plan on running a blueberry farm and Ellen's bakery are truly going to make it. But that is the part of the story left to the readers' imaginations. It takes more than a change into jeans and tee shirt and making blueberry croissants to leave Manhattan for a small New England tourist town that dies in winter. Maybe they'll be snowbirds. This is feel good fiction after all and it is fun.

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