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Great First Books in the Series for Lovers of Romance

August 12, 2016 at 3:12 PM by Cathy Polovina

Adriana Trigiani   Very Valentine

The raucous Roncalli clan make custom high-end shoes and own one of the last family businesses in Greenwich Village.  Valentine lives with the family’s master artisan, her grandmother Teodora Angelini, and is charged with revamping her kin’s company before it goes under. Valentine finds she has a head for business and a love for the history and craft of luxury shoes and enters a design competition for a prestigious department store that would secure the family fortunes.  The story really takes off when Valentine, eager to acquire an edge, accompanies her grandmother to Italy and the Isle of Capri to find unique shoemaking materials and learn traditional techniques.  Along the way, the young artist/entrepreneur is inspired as much by the way Italians make “an art of life”, as by the art itself, and finds she must make some important decisions in her own life.  Will Val’s resolve to follow her Gram’s lead and make changes in her romantic life falter once she returns to New York? Will she win Bergdorf’s design contest and save the family business?  Trigiani knows how to tell an absorbing story and we root for Val and her family in this delightful trilogy.

Terri Dulong,  Spinning Forward 

Terri Dulong brings us a story about starting over in this first title of her Cedar Key series. New Englander Sydney Webster’s life is shattered when her husband dies and she finds herself alone and in debt.  An old school friend suggests she come down to Florida and work as cook in her Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast to recover, and this is where Sydney’s new life begins.  The town is full of just the kind of people you might want to meet; in addition to innkeeper Alison, there’s Dora, who’s full of helpful suggestions; wise old Saren Ghetti; and the enigmatic Sybile.  Secure in her friends, Sydney finds the confidence to open a business to sell and teach the techniques of needlework she so enjoys.  In the course of the story, our heroine runs into a mystery involving her own biological mother, and a potential rival and love interest. There’s plenty of satisfying wish fulfillment in this charming and gentle read—perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber looking for another romantic series. Return to Cedar Key in the next book, Casting Off.

Marie BostwickA Single Thread

Devastated by divorce, Evelyn Dixon leaves her Texas home and relocates to a picturesque New England village, in the first title of the Cobble Quilt series. Free and in her fifties, she decides now is the time to fulfill her dream of running a quilt shop—and she finds the perfect spot in  New Bern, Connecticut, down a little alley called Cobble Court.  Soon a community of women rallys around the shop and around Evelyn after she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Her new friends include newly unemployed marketing whiz, Margot Matthews; imperious socialite, Abigail Burgess; and Abigail’s rebellious teenage niece Liza. The unlikely group bonds while attending their Friday night quilting bee, where each reveal their hopes and disappointments and exchange long held secrets.  Bostwick presents believable relationships between the women, keeps the story moving, and does not overly dwell upon the illness storyline—there’s even a promise of romance to come in the next title, A Thread of Truth.