Rich (Ex and the Single Girl, 2005, etc.) whips up a beguiling twist on a well-tested plot in her romance about a straight-laced television producer who learns to loosen up.
An ace at capturing a good story, Tucson Today’s Carly McKay is a washout when it comes to her personal life. As a teen, she was forced to care for her two little sisters and her vulnerable father after Carly’s mother abandoned the family. She suppressed her resentment and bitterness for 15 years, until an assignment to profile Brandywine Seaver, a quiltmaker who professes to have psychic abilities, sets in motion events that shake Carly’s world. With the TV cameras rolling, Brandywine shares her special talents, explaining that she channels psychic energy while crafting quilts that, when finished, hold encrypted messages for their prospective owners. As Carly wraps the segment, Brandywine unexpectedly presents her with a quilt and a psychic reading. Everything in the producer’s life is about to change, she declares. Sure enough, Carly’s mom pops back into town. Her desire to pick up where she left off 15 years ago disturbs the fragile McKay family dynamic. Then Carly loses her job. Unemployed and confused, she lands on Brandywine’s doorstep demanding explanations. The psychic quilter offers few answers, but she does give Carly temporary shelter in an apartment on her property. Next-door neighbor Will, a sensitive artist, encourages Carly to share her feelings—very alien behavior for this tough lady. Naturally, she succumbs to Will’s charms and starts to adopt his open-minded approach to life.
Carly is so brusque in the early chapters that readers may take a while to warm up to the spitfire heroine, but once her tender side is exposed, it’s hard not to like her.