cover image Take a Chance: Bridgeport Social Club, Book 1

Take a Chance: Bridgeport Social Club, Book 1

Shelley Shepard Gray. Blackstone, $15.99 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-5384-4087-2

Gray (Her Fear), best known for her inspirational novels featuring the Amish, ventures far afield with this sweet but never syrupy first Bridgeport Social Club contemporary. Kurt, 31, recently relocated to Bridgeport, Ohio, from West Virginia to give his 17-year-old brother, Sam, the best chance for a future outside the coal mines. Sam and Kurt’s fledgling business are the entirety of Kurt’s world until he meets 26-year-old Emily, Sam’s English teacher and advisor. When a third variable, love, appears in his life, this country boy isn’t quite sure what to do. Emily is a caring teacher and consummate professional with a strict rule against dating her students’ parents, but she can’t deny the sweet attraction she feels in Kurt’s presence, and she decides to make an exception. Soon all of them are forced to face the realities of growing up. This gentle, uplifting story admirably models values of genuine respect and open communication, and sets the foundation for what promises to be a delightfully rich series about taking chances, trust, and true friendship. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Sept.)