When I read this title, I had to smile. Regular readers, friends IRL and I have a running joke about how I don't care for the musical stylings Neil Diamond (there are only two camps: Camp Love Neil & Camp Loathe Neil), but I do love the title of this book, even though every time I picked it up I heard the chorus of a certain song in my head ....
I just finished Sweet Caroline, and I'd like to recommend it to you. Here's the backdrop on the story:
Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona, Spain, Caroline says "yes" to destiny.
Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sheriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart.
But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville, Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.
You gotta love the name "Frogmore Cafe."
Many chapters begin with the "Daily Special" of the Frogmore, and I believe that the cafe's special "Bubba's Buttery Biscuits," makes the menu every time. (More about those biscuits at the end of the post!)
That special menu touch is one way that author Rachel Hauck draws the reader in and makes her care about what's happening to the characters and how Caroline will make out in the end.
Caroline's chance to go to Barcelona is what George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" called "the chance of a lifetime." But she'll have to choose between a man, another man, a cafe that has a presence like the island does in "LOST" and a bright future ... in another country.
Each of those three "characters" pulls at Caroline. Whom does she chose? You won't know until chapter 33, and even in 34 she questions whether the decision is right. You'll just have to hang on to the end to find out which heart-choice Caroline makes.
Until you pick up the book here, here's some fun stuff for you: The Sweet Life Contest! Enter to win a scrumptious baking basket from Rachel. The basket contains the apron shown here, a Low Country cook book signed by PAT CONROY, rolling pin, and a pie plate! All you have to do to enter is sign up for Rachel's newsletter here. Here are some links you might be interested in: Rachel's website and Rachel's My Book Therapy (a writing craft blog for writers).
And just in case you're a legitimate baker extraordinaire (or a wanna be), here is none other than than the recipe for Bubba's Buttery Biscuits, which I copied in another post to save space here.
Finally--if you'd like a chance to win this fun, "summer read," leave a comment at this post saying, "Count me in" or "Sweet Caroline/Good times never seemed so good/
I've been inclined/to believe they never would ...." or something to that effect, and I'll put your name in the loop.