cover image Everything at Last

Everything at Last

Kimberly Lang. Signet Eclipse/Penguin, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-451-47104-8

Lang’s second Magnolia Beach novel (after Something to Prove), set in present-day Alabama, places a sweet, slowly building romance in the context of well-intentioned neighborly expectations and meddling, as well as the small-town solidarity that protects even the newest of its own. Molly Richards, owner of coffee shop Latte Dah, isn’t thrilled to be tapped to run this year’s Memorial Day Children’s Fair. Her best friend, Helena Wheeler, offers practical support (and some matchmaking) by socially engineering a connection with veterinarian Tate Harris, whose little sister is Molly’s newest employee. Helena’s targets go through the motions of courtship, including the performance of protesting too much; their personal histories make it hard for either of them to admit to attraction, but eventually their fondness prevails. When a threat from Molly’s past comes to town, everyone rallies in support. For readers who crave more slow warmth than high heat in their romance stories, prefer their antagonists to come from outside rather than within, and like small towns more for the people than the scenery, the soft brushstrokes of this Magnolia Beach entry will satisfy like a warm cuppa and a freshly baked cookie. Agent: Beth Miller, Writers House. (Jan.)