On the rebound from a dismal marriage that robbed her of her creative self-confidence, Chef Jenna Stevens returns to her hometown of Georgetown, Texas where she opens a kitchen specialty shop in the trendy Old Town district. With the help of a business-savvy assistant Jenna’s shop, Grate Expectations, soon has customers lining up at the door. To her surprise, two of those customers turn out to be her birth parents, Tom and Serenity Johnson, a couple of middle-aged flower children from California.
Serenity wastes no time getting to know her daughter, although Jenna resents that her birth parents waited thirty-two years to find her, never mind the fact they gave her away in the first place. She’s perfectly happy with her adoptive mom and dad. To top it off, Serenity begins meddling in Jenna’s love life, arranging for her to meet a naturopath from the local healing center because, “your auras have a lot in common.”
Jenna recently suffered through a particularly regrettable “rebound date” and is skittish about meeting Serenity’s friend, Ellington, but to appease her mother she reluctantly agrees. To her great relief, Jenna discovers Serenity has pretty good taste in men. Ellington is fabulous and the two hit it off immediately. Except Jenna can’t help but wonder why, after all these years, her birth parents take this sudden interest in her.
Mallery’s culinary tale is a mélange of wit, drama, family and emotion. The plot device of Jenna adapting to two very different sets of parents is realistically portrayed and an unusual dynamic in contemporary romance. Introducing Jenna’s siblings makes the reunion all the more fun and engaging. Ellington’s a doll. Violet’s a pistol. And Jenna is a very lucky woman. A delightful springtime read.