THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE – Nell Carson
Spector, Colorado; Present Day
Greta Kendall figures she's paid her dues and deserves the time she's able to spend with her mother, Adele, working in their bridal shop, Chantilly Dreams. But her life is far from care-free, with Alzheimer's slowly taking Adele's mind and memories. To top it off, Stephanie Harwood, of Harwood Development, is determined to raze the Kendalls' home and business to make way for a shopping mall. Yes, it seems like progress and industry want to nose their way into this quaint little piece of Americana pie. Greta has played every card to fight the demolition on Lamont Street, but Stephanie has trumped each of her tricks, and it seems that her house, along with neighboring ones, has a date with the bulldozer soon.
Gray Daniels, Stephanie's fiancé and attorney representing the Harwoods, arrives at Chantilly Dreams to check on the progress being made with Stephanie's wedding gown, a vintage Mainbocher his grandmother had worn for her own wedding. While he's sensed a growing distance in his and Stephanie's relationship, he's always pictured them marrying. So, the show must go on. What he didn't anticipate was meeting Greta and being charmed at first sight, or that he'd sympathize with her plight to save her home and business. Until now, the homeowners had been faceless people who would simply move their businesses from the current location to prime spots in Stephanie's dream mall. Greta isn't just a faceless person, but one with tenacity and spirit, and it's quite obvious that losing this place will break her heart and her mother's.
And then Stephanie shows up at Chantilly Dreams for an obvious camera opportunity, and it all goes to hell in a hand basket.
THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is the charming story of not only Gray and Greta, but of the townfolk and history that make up Spector, Colorado. This small town has a heart of gold and is entrenched in good old fashioned charm and quaintness. It's quite easy to see why Greta returned to Spector for healing after her failed marriage and subsequent divorce. While she feels she may be damaged goods, Gray sees her differently…a breath of fresh air. Greta's genuine and earnest, compared to Stephanie's hard-edged drive to prove to her father that she can be successful in development.
Along with the main players already mentioned above, THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is pleasantly peopled with Greta's friend, Penny; Ian and Gregor Koslovsky, twins whose feuding has split the town paper into two; and Jack Fenton, Greta's lawyer and friend.
At fewer than 200 pages, THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is a sweet romance that will charm even the most discriminating reader. Hmm, that seems to be the word of the day: charm . I'm sorry, but it easily comes to mind when talking about Nell Carson's latest book from Avalon.