cover image Fox Crossing

Fox Crossing

Melinda Metz. Kensington, $9.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2809-8

The spirit of a legendary fox guides the lives of downhearted residents of a sleepy Maine town in Metz’s uplifting outing (after Talk to the Paw). A common supply stop for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the town of Fox Crossing embraces the legend of a white-tipped fox whose appearance is said to grant good fortune. The fox watches Annie Hatherley, who runs the town’s outfitter store, and recognizes Annie as a descendant of the woman who rescued the fox from a fur trap 200 years earlier. Contrary to the beliefs of Annie’s mother and grandmother, Annie doesn’t believe she needs a man to have a fulfilling life. That changes when she meets out-of-towner Nick Ferrone, who is woefully unprepared for the dangerous parts of the trail, and she ends up saving his life with help from the fox. Nick sticks around after he recuperates, and the two explore their mutual attraction to one another. The fox spirit touches other lives in a tightly woven series of engrossing story lines: bartender Banana gets a surprise visit from his estranged daughter and granddaughter; Annie’s friend Chloe is broken up with one too many times; and solitary baker Shoo-Fly finds purpose in rescuing an abused dog. Metz’s stories of hope and second chances pack a genuine emotional wallop. Agent: Robin Rue, Writer’s House. (Nov.)