Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Kelly Harms

Pub Date: July 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-01138-1
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

When Janine Brown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is announced as the winner of a dream home in Maine, two women who share the same name may just be what the other needs for a brand new lease on life.

Janey Brown’s Great Aunt Midge has entered her name in a Free House Sweepstakes, and when she wins the house in Maine, Janey would like nothing more than to crawl into the safe, warm haven of her kitchen and make it all go away. Speaking to strangers gives her hives and ties her tongue in knots, which she’d just as soon have happen in the comfort of her own familiar hometown. Unfortunately, Janey knows how much the house means to Aunt Midge, and Aunt Midge is smart enough to tempt Janey with the dream kitchen that comes with the home, so before long, they’re off to begin new lives on the East Coast. Meanwhile, Nean Brown also heard her name called on the contest announcement, and she, too, is headed to Maine to claim her prize. So when these three women collide on the doorstep of 1516 Shipwreck Lane, confusion and antipathy arise. Aunt Midge is 88, a true character and wise as the day is long in summer. She sees through the wisecracking Nean to the vulnerable girl inside and opens her heart and the house to her, dragging Janey grumbling behind. Along the way, Janey and Nean form a truce, then a bond, with a bit of help from Aunt Midge and a small community of people they meet and, to Janey’s shock, befriend. Janey is a professional cook and social recluse whose main interactions for the past few years have been with Aunt Midge and The Food Network. Nean is a wanderer with no education and fewer prospects.  Each one must work through her own past, fear and insecurities, then turn to the other as they navigate romantic highs and lows and other life lessons in this charming winner.

A perfect recipe of clever, quirky, poignant and fun make this a delightful debut.