cover image Spring Forward: Mystic Creek, Book 4

Spring Forward: Mystic Creek, Book 4

Catherine Anderson. Berkley, $7.99 mass market (448p) ISBN 978-0-399-58634-7

Anderson’s fourth Mystic Creek contemporary makes good use of its lengthy word count as it explores the familial connection and separate love lives of Crystal Malloy and her grandfather, Tuck Malloy. Tuck’s friend Tanner Richards, a handsome single father, sneaks beer and tobacco into Tuck’s assisted living community at Tuck’s request, but the cantankerous administrator catches him and threatens to kick Tuck out. Under duress, Crystal reluctantly files a complaint against Tanner with the courier company he works for, but he quickly forgives the apologetic Crystal after she stands up for Tuck at the center. Tuck, who’s only at the facility while he recovers from an injury, is eager to break free of the “prison,” with its bad food and nosy staff, but when he meets regal, down-to-earth, and beautiful Essie Childers, a fellow resident, his opinion of the place changes. Crystal believes she’s unworthy of love, but Tanner fights for a future with her. Meanwhile, Essie’s greedy son threatens her newfound happiness with Tuck, but Essie’s a formidable opponent to his schemes. Delightful characters (including Tuck’s intelligent dog, Rip) and amusing dialogue will make readers anxious to revisit charming Mystic Creek, Ore. (Jan.)