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CHICK MAGNET by Emma Barry


by Emma Barry

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-6625-0501-0
Publisher: Montlake Romance

A struggling veterinarian and a popular influencer nudge one another to redefine the parameters of success in life and love.

Armed with charm, skill, and a brood of entertaining chickens, Nicole Jones has amassed a large fan following on social media. So, when her YouTuber boyfriend decides to dump her while streaming live, Nicole—or Chick Nic, as she is popularly known—feels desperately cornered. Bruised and humiliated, Nic relocates with her overactive avian brood to Yagerstown, where her late grandmother was born. But another challenge awaits in the form of local vet Will Lund. The dedicated doctor is displeased with Nic for making chicken-rearing appear easier and more glamorous than it really is. Although he's unsure of her dedication to her flock, Will has seen and admired Nic’s videos and finds himself nursing an uncomfortable attraction to his new neighbor. Several heated disagreements later, Nic and Will realize they share common ground: Both are dealing with life-altering difficulties. While Nic is nursing a broken heart, Will is forced to acknowledge that his vet practice has suffered irrecoverably in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But it will take more than shared confidences for Will to finally believe that he is worthy of love and happiness. Nic and Will are instantly likable, and their search for steadiness and meaning—even roots and belonging, in Nic's case—during a difficult phase feels particularly authentic. Barry is insightful when she hints at the painful social shifts initiated by the pandemic, infectiously cheerful while describing Nic’s interactions with her clucking comrades, and especially evocative when she tackles Will’s internal struggles. But this sometimes leads to abrupt and disorienting tonal shifts, from featherlight and airy to emotionally dense and weighty.

A comforting small-town romance, with chickens.