The Strawberry Hearts Diner by Carolyn Brown
Published July 18th 2017 by Montlake Romance
Published July 18th 2017 by Brilliance Audio
Being broke, unemployed, and stranded back in the tiny town of Pick, Texas, was not part of Jancy Wilson’s plan. Yet here she is, watching her car literally go up in smoke—along with her last-ditch hope of staying with her cousin in Louisiana. When Jancy spies a Help Wanted sign hanging in the window of the quaint Strawberry Hearts Diner, the memories of the two years she spent there as a teenager—and the lure of the diner’s beloved strawberry tarts—are enough to draw her in and plant her feet…but only temporarily.
Raised by parents who refused to settle anywhere for long, Jancy has never known what it is to have roots. Now that Jancy’s swept up by the warmth and character of this quirky little community—and by the pull of an old crush—it’s beginning to feel like home. She’s making friends and even discovering the sweetness of falling in love. But when the town is threatened, Jancy knows it will take more than its legendary tarts to save it. Can she fight for this little Texas town—knowing she might not stay forever?
The Strawberry Hearts Diner is another delightful story by Carolyn Brown. Nettie and Vicky are the co-owners of the diner in Pick, Texas. They are looking for help and help falls into their laps. Jancy Wilson is on her way to New Orleans, but stops in Pick to visit her grandmother’s grave. As she stops to get gas and something to eat, her car goes up in flames. With little cash and no way out of town she sees the help wanted sign, and ends up employed at The Strawberry Hearts Diner. When others in town find out that Jancy is back (her family moved when she was in highschool) and working at the diner, many come and welcome her with open arms.
Carolyn Brown does a wonderful job of creating the wonderful town of Pick. This town is small but mighty. Everyone pulls together when it is for the best of the town and the people who live there. I loved the descriptions of the town and some of their activities like Sunday School at different times at the two churches so the kids could attend both classes. When Carlton Wolfe comes to town trying to buy up all the land to build houses, and possibly swindle people, the town closes rank and sends him packing. Of course that means an opportunity for a whole town potluck and picnic. The main characters, Nettie (70 year old grandma stand in), Vicki (40 year old single mom), Emily (Vicki’s daughter) and Jancy are all strong, smart, loyal, and feisty women. I loved how they treated one another and became a family even if they were not blood related. The men in their lives were also wonderful and when you throw in a few quirky small town residents, I wanted to head off to Pick and meet all of them. They made me smile, laugh and even cry a bit.
While this book has romance and relationship issues, there is more to the story than that. It is about family, faith, love and finding your own happiness. There are second chances and acceptance all rolled together to produce a wonderful story. I listened to this one (KU read and listen) and really enjoyed the narration. The narrator gave great voice to the various characters, which really helped me to feel like I was experiencing the story along with the characters in the story. I will definitely watch for more books by Carolyn Brown.
Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.
I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.
I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They’ve also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.
About the Narrator: BRITTANY PRESSLEY is an AudioFile magazine Earphones Award–winning narrator. She is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and voice actress. Her voice can be heard on national and international TV and radio commercials, as well as in several animated series and video games.