One Foot in the Grove
By Kelly Lane (2016)
She’s known nationwide as the Runaway Bride, a Boston public relations expert who left her popular TV weatherman fiancé at the altar in a viral video that shows her in an unflattering light. In order to get away from the flurry of media attention, Eva Knox returns to her family’s plantaion inn in Abundance, Georgia, to help run her father’s new olive grove, and to market its award-winning olive oils. Her sisters Pep and Daphne welcome Eva back, but not everyone in the small town is happy to see her: eighteen years ago, she left her first fiancé at the altar, and fled Abundance for Boston.
The last thing anyone in this story needs at this stressful time is for someone on the paid staff to be murdered right at the edge of the olive grove, but that’s what they get, and as Eva tries to sort things out, her life may also be at risk. Our heroine has a cute puppy, a handsome sheriff, and all kinds of personal issues to deal with, and because she seems remarkably resilient even while privately going through boxes of Kleenex in her cabin behind the inn, she’s easily embraced by the reader.
There’s lots of local flavor here, with enough description of Eva’s hometown and its people to give the novel all the color it needs. Author Kelly Lane mostly saves the olive oil talk for later in the series. I do want to know as much as I can about olive trees and olive oil from a character who is now immersed in this world, but I can wait, because Lane’s already won me over with good characters and a really well-paced narrative. I suspect it doesn’t take a lot to assemble the ingredients for a good series in this genre, but I know it takes a good writer to keep me engaged this well, especially given the interesting timeline the plot sticks to, which I will not spoil. I’m perfectly fine with a writer who sticks to the formula; how nice instead to find one who can really put a story together, too. More, please.