Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Always the Baker, Never the Bride
Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Release Date: September 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, Atlanta
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Sandra's Website/Blog: www.sandradbricker.com
Emma Travis seems to have it all. She is a baker extraordinaire even though she’s diabetic. She’s won awards for her luscious creations. With the ability to bake to her heart’s content you would think she would be content. But no, something’s missing, whether it’s in her life or career she doesn’t know.
An opportunity arises for Emma to have creative license in her own kitchen. It seems too good to be true. Yet what was once an elegant hotel is reopening as a destination hotel for weddings and events, and she can be a part of it.
Jackson Drake is fulfilling his late wife’s dream by re-opening the Tanglewood Inn. Headache though it’s become he’s determined to make the hotel everything Desi ever hoped it would be. Included in the headache of growing proportions are his three older sisters (Norma Jean, Georgiann, and Susannah). They mean well and he loves them, but when Susannah wants to hire the frustrating baker he met a week ago she may have just gone too far.
A headache is one thing; a migraine is another, however…Emma seems to be a breath of fresh air not only for his sisters, but for Jackson, too. Her bright spirit is infectious and seems to sooth his own broken and battered spirit. She has some inspired ideas to help take the hotel to another level. Her kindness is second to none. Her aggravation and frustration with her mother and father is second only to Jackson’s with his sisters, and he means that lovingly. Sadly, his growing feelings for Emma make him feel disloyal to Desi.
Jackson is a great boss. He’s also a compassionate man. Emma understands he’s still going through the grieving process; nonetheless he seems to be sending out mixed signals. She cares for him very much, she may even be falling for him, but she feels she has to tread on tiptoe, and that doesn’t make for a good work environment.
Jackson and Emma are disconnected with God for varying reasons, yet things sometimes just seem to click together between them or with the Tanglewood. Other times things just seem to fall apart. Could it be that the prayers of others are being answered? Could God be throwing glitches into their plans to get their attention? With an open heart and time and patience and God in their corner anything is possible.
What a fun and touching story! Emma and Jackson are empathetic characters. They seem to have an abundance of likable qualities as well as the normal, usual human foibles. It’s easy to root for them to gain peace of mind and heart along with a HEA. The reader is more than happy to wish them lots of success.
The ensemble cast was quite entertaining; there are, of course, Jackson’s exuberant sisters, Emma’s don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover assistant Fiona, and Emma’s mother, father, and Aunt Sophie.
In my mind, with each novel Ms. Bricker’s writing continues to grow and flourish. She inspires with a light hand and entertains with a broad stroke. Her stories will make you think, tug at your heart, and make you smile.
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