cover image The Bluebird Bakery

The Bluebird Bakery

Lee Tobin McClain. HQN, $9.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-1-335-42743-4

Bestseller McClain returns to Chesapeake Bay’s Teaberry Island for her sentimental second Hometown Brothers novel (after The Forever Farmhouse). Taylor Harp has sworn off men to focus on making her Bluebird Bakery a success. She reluctantly hires military veteran Cody Cunningham, who spent his teen years in foster care on the island and now struggles with PTSD, to help out in the bakery, despite her false belief—which Cody is unaware of—that he “took advantage” of her younger sister Savannah in their youth. Taylor and Cody’s newfound truce is first complicated when Savannah, now a beauty queen, returns to the island looking for a job after leaving her latest deadbeat boyfriend—and then completely upended when Cody’s birth mother abandons his half siblings, seven-year-old Danny and three-year old Ava, at the bakery. As Taylor and Cody work together to care for the children and the store, miscommunications are cleared up and love blossoms. The island provides a picturesque backdrop and a supportive community as the characters grapple with tough issues. Kind, lonely Taylor makes an admirable heroine, and wounded Cody proves easy to root for. Readers looking for wholesome small-town romance should snap this up. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Assoc. (Jan.)