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A Tale of the Curious Cookbook
Three months after losing his parents in a car crash, Denver weatherman Daniel Whitaker returns to Laramie, Wyoming. It’s bad enough dealing with the death of his parents and his failing relationship of fifteen years, but when he finds his childhood home full of clutter, Daniel is at a loss. He enlists Landon, his parents’ sexy neighbor, to help him sort through the mess.
Landon Kushner is a study in contradictions. He builds wind sculptures out of scrap metal and loves the outdoors, but he also rides a mint-green Vespa and has an affinity for knitting and fortune-telling. He’s been friends with Daniel’s parents for years, and he’s more than willing to lend a hand.
Their plan is simple: clean the house so Daniel can sell it and get back to his life in Denver. But when a strange cookbook comes into Landon’s possession, Daniel begins to realize that the universe – and Granny B – may have other plans.
Marie Sexton is one of my favorite contemporary authors – and I’ve been missing her new material for a while now. She did release a much darker stories in a different pen name, but I have always leaned towards her sweet ones. So when I found out that Sexton was part of this series, I just knew that I had to read it.
Lost Along the Way easily is my favorite entry of the “Tales of the Curious Cookbook” series so far (the previous novellas are written by R.J. Scott and Amy Lane). I guess the key element that made this story fit my taste was the ‘journey’ that Danny experienced along the way (see what I did there *wink*). Not only that Danny had to deal with sorting the clutter of items in his childhood home – and realized that there was a lot to learn about his parents after years of estrangement – but also the fact that his long-time relationship was falling apart. At the same time, there was the growing attraction with the scruffy neighbor, Landon, who had been friends with Danny’s parents for the last five years.
First of all, for those of you who are worried about cheating, rest assured that there isn’t any cheating on Danny’s part. He did however spend quite a bit of time with Landon while the two of them worked together to clean out the house. But, I found the chemistry and friendship between the two of them to be built quite naturally.
Second of all, I loved the way Sexton wrote about the ending of Danny’s current relationship. It would be too easy (and probably predictable) to make Danny’s husband, Chase, a despicable human being. However, I felt that in the end, Chase was also shown as having true regret, and what happened next was something that cannot be avoided. It was acceptable progress and BOTH men had their closure.
The purpose of Granny B’s mystical cookbook was quite eloquent here. I loved how Landon was written as someone who believed in magical things (his own mother was his psychic advisor, how adorable was that?).
This novella was longer than the previous two which, for me, resulted in a more satisfying read. It is a beautiful, at times heartbreaking (when you think about a fifteen year of relationship ending), but also hopeful story about finding love the second time around.