Monday, March 19, 2018

Second Chance Cafe (Hope Springs #1), by Alison Kent (author), Natalie Ross (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, March 2013

Kaylie Flynn has returned home to Hope Springs, Texas, where she lived as a foster child from age ten to age eighteen, in an unusually fortunate foster experience. Having built a successful career and a nice nestegg as baker, she has now bought the old home of her late and much-loved foster parents, Winton and May Wise, to be not only her home, but her new business, the Two Owls Cafe, serving lunch from 10am to 2pm.

She also has another mission, finding out what happened to her birth parents, and why they never came back to get her after the awful events that landed her in foster care.

Hope Springs is a charming town, and the characters are likable and interesting. Having spent ten years in Austin, Kaylie is sometimes surprised at how many people remember her and her foster parents, here in small-town Hope Springs. They also remember her brownies--then and now, her method of dealing with emotional crises is to bake brownies, and then find people to eat them before she can eat them all.

But Kaylie has her own memories, some clear, others buried, and she wants to find out her parents didn't want her. Like many children, she blamed herself for the upheaval of her childhood, and as an adult hasn't shed those feelings.

Old neighbors and classmates, as well as people she didn't meet as a child, become new friends. The hunky contractor the old classmate who became the realtor who sold her the Wise home recommended, Tennessee Keller, is skilled, perceptive of her needs in the renovation, and, oh, yes, very attractive personally as well as physically. Luna Meadows, local maker of a stunningly successful line of hand-weaved wool scarves, becomes a good friend--but turns out to be sitting on a potentially explosive secret. Tenn Keller has his own secrets. Kaylie herself is keeping secrets from her new friends as well as from herself.

Of course this all has to explode over all of them, and the question is whether the relationships she's built, and her new business, are strong enough to survive it.

There were points at which I wanted to give Kaylie, Tenn, Luna, and others whacks upside the head with a clue-by-four, as I felt they were being more obtuse than the reasonable demands of the plot required, but really, I liked them all, and I'm not fond of violence.

Recommended with the above-noted reservation.

I bought this audiobook.