Dorien Kelly, Author . Pocket $6.99 (373p) ISBN 978-0-7434-6459-8

Set in the sleepy Irish village of Ballymuir, where glamour is scarce but gossip spreads faster than the Irish mist, Kelly's second contemporary romance (after The Last Bride in Ballymuir ) focuses on chef Jenna Fahey, who has fled her high-powered American family to run a gourmet restaurant in Muir House, a dilapidated local mansion she holds under tenuous lease. When Devlin Gilvane arrives to scout the property for his multinational resort chain, she stands to lose both her home and her heart. Though born in Ballymuir, Dev is now a London bachelor with freewheeling ways and fast-track goals—all of which lose their appeal as he begins to appreciate the subtle charms of both Jenna and his birthplace. The surprise arrivals of Dev's widowed mother and Jenna's fashionista sister yield additional romantic intrigue, with a local artist-cum-witch providing the requisite touch of folklore. Kelly's straightforward story adds little to the Irish romance niche mapped out by Nora Roberts (among others), but it's warmly appealing thanks to its assured prose and deft characterizations. Dev is especially winning as a charming but conflicted romantic hero, while the quirky folks who populate Ballymuir create a funny, affectionately drawn world to which readers will eagerly return. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2140-5
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-7434-8874-7
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