"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fortunate Harbor (A Happiness Key novel) by Emilie Richards

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Summary: Neighbors in a small Florida town deal have their friendship to support them through job loss, infertility issues, dating problems, and the return of their landlady's ex-con ex-husband. 

It's delightful to pick up a book in the middle of a series and have the story feel complete without having read the previous novel (Happiness Key) and I will likely read the upcoming novel, out later this year.

Tracy's relationship with Marsh is just taking off when his ex-wife Sylvia comes to Palmetto Grove to stay, and to be a mother to their ten-year-old son Bay. Tracy feels secure enough to wait for Marsh to sort out his feelings, until she thinks she sees CJ, her ex-con of an ex-husband snooping around her property. She comes to discover that it is CJ and he has big plans to prove himself innocent of the embezzlement and fraud charges and win Tracy back.

Sassy, colorful Wanda is fired from her job as a waitress for looking too old. After moping around for a few days, she decides to open up a pie shop, baking her fabulous pies. But the bakery down the street is doing everything possible to ensure Wanda fails.

Janya wants children, and thinks that her new husband Rishi does too. But Rishi is never home, and rebuffs all Janya's attempts at seduction and sex.

Elderly Alice, who I suspect has aphasia, is trying to raise her granddaughter Olivia, after Olivia's father murdered Alice's daughter, Olivia's mother.

And Dana, a friend of Wanda's from the restaurant, is trying to make a home for herself and her daughter Lizzie, without anyone discovering Dana's secret. When Dana rents one of the Tracy's cottages, she has no idea that  she is enmeshing herself in the lives and hearts of these women. After Dana finds herself falling in love with a cop, she is torn between her heart and her daughter's safety.

While Tracy is the main character of the novel, I also was hungry to discover Dana's secret in this delightful easy read. The writing is realistic and flows. Tracy longs for the good times with CJ and wants to trust him. Tracy struggles with her weight and takes herself far too seriously. Wanda serves as comic foil and is both nosy and bossy. After reading about so many of Wanda's pies, I kept hoping the author would include at least one pie recipe, but she didn't. Janya assumes the best of everyone's motives but finally learns the truth about her husband, which is sad but also a relief. Alice plays less of a role, and I can't help wondering if perhaps she had a larger part in a previous novel. Enjoy this lighthearted novel of friendship. It also reminded me of Small Change. If you liked that novel, you'll probably like this one.

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