cover image When Hattie Finds Love

When Hattie Finds Love

Amy Lillard. Zebra, $8.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5526-6

Lillard (One More Time for Joy) centers the cheery conclusion to the Paradise Valley series on the power of positivity, sweet treats, and second chances. Hattie Schrock, 59-year-old co-owner of Poppin’ Paradise Popcorn Shop, is well-known in the Amish community of Paradise Springs, Mo., for her easy smile and sunny disposition. When she and her cousin (and co-owner) Elsie realize they’ve never seen widower Christian Beachy without his perpetual frown, they make a bet: Hattie has 60 days to get Christian to smile, or she must clean the copper pots in the popcorn shop for one year. Hattie invites Christian to a benefit event hosted by the Whoopie Pie Widows’ Club, where the two bond over lively games of horseshoes (and whoopie pies). Though Christian still won’t smile, Hattie realizes there’s more to the gentle, withdrawn widower than meets the eye. But just as their friendship starts to bloom into something more, Christian discovers Hattie’s bet, threatening to bring their romance to an end before it can really begin. Lillard’s characters are satisfyingly three-dimensional and easy to root for, including Christian, whose cantankerous exterior belies a gentle and generous heart. Lillard’s fans will delight in this enchanting testament to the benefits of looking on the bright side. (Dec.)