cover image The Café Between Pumpkin and Pie

The Café Between Pumpkin and Pie

Marina Adair, Kate Angell, and Stacy Finz. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3320-7

Halloween magic and the enticing aroma of pie fill the air of Moonbright, Maine, the small-town setting for this trio of quality autumnal love stories. Angell’s “Love Over Easy,” finds shy waitress Hannah dressed as Little Bo Peep for the town’s Halloween parade—but she’s lost track of her sheep: her three four-year-old nephews. To her surprise, Jake Kaylor, her longtime crush and a man she’s always considered out of her league, offers to corral the flock and walk the parade with her. Even in this abbreviated format, the crisp dialogue between Jake and Hannah (enjoyed over some delicious-sounding desserts) builds real chemistry between this couple. In “Love Rising,” from Finz, baker Syd returns to Moonbright to deal with her grandmother’s estate, only to discover that contractor Nick Rossi is building a professional kitchen in the carriage house at her late grandmother’s request. The professional bread maker, her grandmother’s plans to start a tearoom, and the dreamy Nick might be enough to entice Syd to stay. Adair’s “Romance on Tap,” while entertaining, is the weakest link, relying on the tired trope of a woman compromising her professional aspirations to accommodate a man. Still, there’s plenty to love in this well-wrought anthology. (Sept.)