Pick of the Day

Sparks Fly by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Take every love-at-first-sight movie; add to that every romantic movie of falling head-over-heels in love with someone in a ...

No Parking by Valentine Wheeler

⭐⭐⭐☆


We absolutely love books with older MCs. Creating a love story for people in their 50s/close to 60 is somehow so optimistic and heart-warming. Love doesn’t have to be the bastion of only the youth (teens) or young (people up to mid-30s), age groups that most romance writers stick to.

Marianne Windmere owns and runs a bakery that has been their family business for almost 150 years. She also owns the building which houses her business. There are two storefronts (suites) in the building and at some point in his life, her father has sold one to his best friend. Though never mentioned overtly, this loss of one suite is kind of a sore point with Marianne and she’s never bothered to visit with any of the frequently changing businesses housed in the second suite, never bothering with them one way or another. However, the new business there, a restaurant specializing in Egyptian food, is bothering her because Marianne customers keep complaining about the lack of parking. One evening a wicked snowstorm traps the two business owners in the building without electricity and thus Marianne meets Rana Wahbi, a beguiling Egyptian lady. They spend a lovely evening together but come morning and a fight about the parking ends their brief idyll. Marianna investigates the parking issue and finds that it is being used by a third party altogether and both the businesses are receiving complaints. Marianne and Rana put up a no commuter parking sign and the city frowns at them asking them to pull it down. So Marianne begins investigating into whom the parking lot really belongs to. This little thread unravels with unexpected outcomes.

With all the scheming around the property and a slimy politician, this could’ve been a breathless book but what we have is a cast of extremely likeable characters living their lives, supporting each other and a lovely new relationship developing at an unhurried and engaging pace. Most of the characters are in the rainbow fold (queer, gay, bi, pan, trans, ace) and entirely accepting. It may be hard to believe that world but it is a lovely dream which is laid out in an entirely possible fashion. Marianne is 58 and on the asexual spectrum. When she was younger, this was not a known concept and she wonders whether knowing it would’ve made her marriage a different experience. This is so, so real. In fact, all the ‘what ifs’ raised as just mental questions are all very real. The relationship between Marianne and Rana is soft, gentle and pretty (so pretty) with enough there to make the chemistry tangible.

This was a lovely book which we thoroughly enjoyed.   

⭐⭐⭐☆
 


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