Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café

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A quirky romantic novella about a reformed ex-con and the enterprising young woman who helps him rediscover his self-worth.

In her second full-length work of fiction (Wrong Place, Wrong Time, 2013), Jacobs tells a sweet tale of love and redemption. The book opens as Emet First confides to his employer, Eden Rose, that he has asked a woman on a date for the first time in almost a decade. The reader quickly learns that nine years earlier, Emet was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence in the Massachusetts correctional system. The narrator makes clear that despite his criminal record, Emet is a stand-up guy who simply fell victim to the accumulation of several unfortunate events. Unfortunately, Emet’s confidence has plummeted as a result of his prison time, and he needs Eden Rose to continually remind him of his self-worth. He worries that as soon as he reveals his past to Mercey Finch, his prospective date, she will run for the hills. With Eden Rose’s encouragement, Emet attempts to properly woo Mercey. It soon becomes apparent that she has some skeletons of her own, including a drug-addicted brother who seems determined to make trouble for his sister and anyone in her life. Emet realizes that he may be in a position to help Mercey and that perhaps he isn’t beyond personal salvation after all. The author manages to cram all of the book’s main action into a three-day period without overwhelming the plot or stalling the pace. Although the story takes place in Massachusetts, Jacobs includes very few details that ground the reader in a specific place and instead seems to purposefully create Anytown, USA. Through the inclusion of many whimsical and quirky details, like a homeless magician and his doting wife who act as taste testers for the cafe’s new desserts, Jacobs creates an enchanting world.

A charming story for those who enjoy a quick, action-packed, romantic fairy tale.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2015
Publisher: Linden Tree Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2015


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