Desert Isle Keeper
Gimme Some Sugar
“Nice Southern girls did not make money baking penis cakes”
Some romance novels are just nice times spent with pleasant people you want to see succeed in life. Gimme Some Sugar fits that bill beautifully.
Six months after the death of her husband Wayne, Lucy Bowman Garten is trying to start over by moving from Texas to open a bakery in her dying hometown of Lake Sackett, Georgia. With her almost-kindergarten-aged son Sam in tow, she’s determined to do well, in spite of her mixed feelings about returning home, and in the face of the opposition of her mother in law, Evie.
Evie – a loud, wounded attention grabber of a woman who is dealing extremely poorly with Wayne’s death – hates that Lucy won’t hand Sam over so she can raise him, and that Lucy is keeping a tight rein on the purse-strings to prevent Evie’s leaching from it. She also thinks Lucy starting a new job so soon after Wayne’s death doesn’t show proper respect for their marriage or his life – or so she says. Thus, Evie is doing everything she can to block Lucy’s bakery plan, from petty gossip to employing her younger son to chase away construction crews Evie’s hired to fix up the grim atmosphere of the shop she’s purchased. Evie doesn’t know that Wayne openly cheated on Lucy; in spite of their Hallmark card picture-perfect façade he was a dilatory father and disrespectful husband and Lucy hadn’t been happy in the marriage for a very long time.
When handsome Duffy McCready spies Lucy trying to cross the street without falling over under the weight of the enormous penis cake that she’s just baked, he springs into action to help. Lucy and Duffy were childhood friends, and she had a huge crush on him as a teenager – a crush that resurges when she sees how well Duffy’s grown up. Duffy’s crushing too, but he’s determined to be respectful; one doesn’t put the moves on widows–a lesson learned during his time helping out at the family business, a funeral parlor–and probably the reason why his part of the business – which is also a bait shop (!) – mostly involves boating people out for chartered fishing trips on Lake Sackett. Duffy’s been through his own bad marriage – his ex-wife Lana lied about being pregnant to trick him into a shotgun marriage right out of high school, only to turn out not to be pregnant, then cheat on him relentlessly with his friends. He may be clear of her legally, but kind hearted Duffy keeps having pity sex with her whenever she’s upset because she’s failed at life. But Lucy definitely needs a real friend, and Duffy vows he’ll be there for her. After all, he doesn’t want to lose the friendship he worked so hard to regain.
As Lucy struggles to parent her son over Evie’s objections and build her business, Duffy struggles to finally get free of Lana for once and for all. And as he and Lucy begin to fall in love – in spite of their best intentions – the whole town seems to have an opinion, and it’ll depend on a little courage and a few leaps of faith for them to get their own happy ending.
What can I say about this book, other than it’s a sweet little delight, and it had me laughing along as I flipped its pages.
I loved these characters oh so much. I loved their relationships – Lucy with Sam, Duffy with his family, Lucy with Duffy, and her friendship with Duffy’s sister, Marianne. Sam is a hilarious kid, and sounds appropriate to his age, and I loved Duffy’s tough mother, Donna, who loves Lucy but is still aggravated that her son threw away years of his life on Lana. And then there’s Michael ‘Specs’ Foyle, a bullied schoolmate of Lucy’s who turns out to be her secret weapon in the kitchen, and the indomitable matriarch Tootie, Duffy’s grandma – I could go on and on naming minor characters that I loved. Even the villains are well-rounded; Evie’s got enough spunk and spite and personality in her that she didn’t feel like too much of a stock character.
Duffy and Lucy’s romance is very sweet, scouted out with gentle trepidation and humor and a lot of shared history that rolls out beautifully. It’s a lovely relationship to get lost in.
Harper’s writing is excellent, with amazingly good turns of phrase, and excellent ways of setting a scene and making the characters snap to life. Gimme Some Sugar is a sweet, indulgent afternoon’s read.