When I received this book in the mail from Amazon, having pre-ordered it, I was so excited! But I wanted to save it to savour and enjoy. I didn’t want to rush through it, and If there is anything I know from a Laureano book in my experience is that once you start, you will not be able to put it down. I prepared myself by reading the prequel novella, The Brick House Cafe in one sitting and was well primed to dig into The Broken Hearts Bakery.
It is not necessary for a reader to have read the prequel, but I wanted to. And I’m glad I did.
The Broken Hearts Bakery did not disappoint. Gemma Van Buren’s story hit the spot like a well-frosted cupcake with a cup of tea. Laurano brings this Colorado town to life and Haven Ridge seems to be a character on its own. What’s not to love about a reunion romance? And the relationship between Gemma and her “honorary niece” is precious, particularly the part where they get to bake things together, in a sort of therapeutic way.
What stood out to me were the relationships between the town’s folk and how they evolved. It reminded me of the preconceived notions and labels the high school yearbook captures, leaving everyone branded to be or do certain things. As in real life, that is not always the case and how Gemma navigates returning to a town that hurt her and friends who had turned on her, and then seeing how it all turns out in the end is well worth it.
Yes, this is a romance, but it is also about friendship and forgiveness, and healing! I loved it!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Sometimes the town that broke your heart is the only place that can heal you.
When Gemma left her hometown of Haven Ridge, Colorado, she swore she’d never return. And she’s kept that promise, leaving old shadows behind and building her reputation as one of LA’s preeminent family law attorneys. But when her lifelong best friend begs Gemma to come stay with her teen stepdaughter while she’s on a business trip, she doesn’t have the heart to refuse. She’ll simply keep a low profile, do her honorary aunt duties for Taylor, and be gone before anyone notices.
But Haven Ridge seems to have a mind of its own, and before she knows it, Gemma finds herself caught up with new friends and old rivalries. When Taylor is targeted by teen bullies, Gemma does the only thing she knows how to do: ply her honorary niece with baked goods and words of affirmation. Soon her temporary lodgings are ground zero for teenage girls seeking sugar and consolation for shockingly adult problems—which the girls soon dub the Broken Hearts Bakery.
Complicating matters is an unexpected reunion with Gemma’s high school sweetheart, Stephen, who is determined to change her mind about him, the town, and the nature of love itself. Because as it turns out, her niece isn’t the only one nursing a broken heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carla Laureano could never decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, so she decided to become a novelist–and she must be kinda okay at it because she’s won two RWA RITA® Awards. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking and trying to read through her TBR shelf, which she estimates will be finished in 2054. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, two teen sons, and an opinionated cat named Willow.
Connect with Carla online at her website (www.carlalaureano.com)