LOVE IN A NUTSHELL - Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-68131-2
January 2012
Contemporary Romance

Keene's Harbor, Michigan

Divorced and now unemployed, Kate Appleton has returned to her family's summer home in Keene's Harbor to start her new life. Difficult to do when you have no money. Kate's plan to renovate her parent's old cottage, called The Nutshell, into a bed and breakfast is going to be an uphill battle. The place needs major work and, without a job, Kate is desperate. She takes a job at the local bar, but is fired when the beer she'd been serving goes bad. Angry and frustrated, Kate takes her emotions out on the brewer, one Matt Culhane, who owns Depot Brewery.

Matt is at first startled when the petite blonde storms into his office, his hospitality manager sputtering behind her. Then he sits back and enjoys the view, and the entertainment. And before either Matt or Kate know it, she's got a job there. It's not just any job, either. Kate is to keep her eyes open at the business because there have been too many coincidental “accidents” happening there lately. Accidents that lead Matt to believe that someone is trying to sabotage his brewery.

Much to Matt's surprise, Kate is ready and willing to take on just about any job in the business, and she's very good at observing what's going on around her. She's also quite something to look at, and Matt really likes her in-your-face personality. He admires her take charge attitude as much as he does her wanting to independently solve her problems with her house. But he doesn't tell her all of his secrets because she just might not stick around if he does.

LOVE IN A NUTSHELL is a fun, enchanting read set in rural small town America where everyone knows everyone's business. Kate observes how well thought of her boss is to the community at large, and how the local single women hover around the town's most eligible bachelor. Matt is pretty much oblivious to it all, but he's not oblivious to Kate.

There are some pretty colorful secondary characters, and the mystery behind the sabotage grows in a very exciting crescendo. As does the growing attraction, albeit reluctantly on Kate's part, between Kate and Matt. Kate doesn't want to be hurt again, and she wants to get herself back on her own two feet without any help. Matt is just a really nice guy, honest, hardworking, and compassionate, who understands Kate‘s feelings.

An entertaining, humorous, and sometimes poignant tale, LOVE IN A NUTSHELL is a super read.

Jani Brooks