Wednesday, June 04, 2008

#33 SWEET LOVE by Sarah Strohmeyer

Number of Book #33
Date Began and Finished 5/24- 5/27 2008
Genre - Women's Fiction
Year It Was Published - 2008
Publisher - Dutton
Number of Pages 297
Hard cover
Reason for reading: Review for Bookreporter (also review request by author)
Rating 4.5/5 stars

Blurb or Synopsis: Inspired by the most important woman in her life, Sarah Strohmeyer wrote SWEET LOVE to honor the memory, but also to get closure after the passing of her beloved mother. SWEET LOVE opens with a prologue, written from the view point of Betty Mueller, who feels a need to correct a wrong she thinks she did to her middle aged daughter many years ago. Betty did not approve of her daughter's budding crush on the young man Michael Slayton, a family friend who was a bit older than Julie's teenage years. In the same breath, Betty also confesses she loves desserts and feels it's what helps make the world go around. She admits her own daughter Julie hates to cook because Betty was a slave to her own kitchen. Julie will have none of that.

And so, Betty decides to help fix a wrong that she did all those years ago, and through some finagling she manages to get Julie into a very exclusive cooking class featuring desserts. What Julie doesn't know is that Michael has also been given this same gift. When the two attend their first class, it's the beginning of a renewed acquaintance, where both Michael and Julie walk down memory lane and figure out what went wrong with what had been a good childhood friendship, and later was ruined by a misunderstanding in their professional lives. Julie is embarrassed to even see Michael, because her feelings were never reciprocated, that he only saw her as his best friend's little sister. What makes it worse, Michael doesn't' come to class alone. He brings a very attractive woman with him, and Julie is convinced they are involved.

Betty continues her manipulating, hoping to get the two of them together. But as she is doing this, she's also dealing with her own issues, health issues that will bring Julie and Michael even closer together.

SWEET LOVE I feel is the best book so far written by Sarah Strohmeyer. While her earlier novels, in particular the Bubbles Series of books, were light comedies with one-dimensional characters, her stand alone novels show a lot of depth. SWEET LOVE still showcases her humor, but there is a serious side to this book, with the characters being much more rounded and three dimensional, characters that change and grow from their mistakes. And while there is plenty of humor, there will be a times when the tissues will be needed as well. I was bawling by the end of the book.

As always, I am not disappointed by a Sarah Strohmeyer book, and this one especially rings true for me, as I can relate to Sarah's experiences in the loss of our mothers. SWEET LOVE is recommended.

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