cover image The Cul-de-Sac War

The Cul-de-Sac War

Melissa Ferguson. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7852-3104-2

Ferguson returns to the world of The Dating Charade in this cute but slight rom-com. Actor Bree Leake stumbles into Chip McBride while she’s attempting to avoid an embarrassing costume malfunction during a performance at the historic Barter Theater in Abingddon, Va. It’s an adorable meet-cute, and both are immediately smitten—despite Chip’s girlfriend waiting just inside the theater. But Bree’s feelings sour when, after a fellow driver almost runs her off the road on her way home, she realizes that Chip is both the object of her road rage and her new next-door neighbor. After a few more bungled interactions, their good first impression dissolves completely and the pair become locked in a neighborhood prank war. But after a surprisingly compassionate night which seems to hint toward a cease-fire, Bree pulls off a prank that goes too far. Disappointingly, the focus on their feud leaves little time to explore the softer side of Chip and Bree’s feelings for each other. Instead, the emotional core of the novel is found in Chip’s strained relationship with his father and the touching moments between Bree and her well-intentioned, matchmaking parents. Readers will find plenty here to hold their interest, but long for a more fleshed-out love story. Agent: Kimberly Whalen, the Whalen Agency. (Nov.)