A Match Made On Main Street (Briar Creek Book 2) by Olivia Miles Rating: 4 Stars
Description: Anna Madison has spent 6 years avoiding her ex, Mark Hastings, and is so good at it that most people in the little town of Briar Creek, Vermont have no idea just how much history is between the two of them. But when disaster strikes and her beloved Fireside Cafe burns down the only person she can turn to is the one person she can't depend on.
Between cooking contests and meddling relatives Briar Creek is suddenly conspiring against her plan to keep Mark part of her past.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Why I Picked This Book: I loved that the main characters were chefs and I had heard good things about the first book in the series.
My Impression: Based on the reviews for the first book in this series I was expecting a slightly darker book than the cover advertises and I was right! Briar Creek, Vermont isn't your typical contemporary romance series small town. All the men aren't beautiful, not everyone is nice with the occasional sprinkling of arch-nemesis, and everything isn't always sunshine and roses. There's tension, old grudges, adultery, financial worries, heartbreak and a hefty dash of abandonment issues. The main characters' families feel like real families. They're fiercely loyal to each other but there are issues there as well. Both the town and the relationships felt real without being overwrought. The actual romance was a little tougher. Miles and Anna have serious history and serious baggage. So much history and so much baggage that they've avoided each other for six years - in a small town, where they both own restaurants, and where his mother is her landlord. It's made things a bit awkward to say the least.
This book combines two of my favorite themes - second chance romances and main characters forced into a situation where they must work as a team - and did a good job with it. In both cases it wasn't easy. It took a long time for them to be able to work together and even with they did there were some huge ups and downs.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when characters don't communicate and there's definitely communication issues here but while there were times I was impatient (especially with Anna) it worked. If I had been in Anna's shoes I think I would have reacted in a similar way so I understood her reluctance to trust him and to share. Her reaction in some ways feels a little over the top but since it's not a situation I've been in I don't really know.
It took a long time for the Mark and Anna to get within speaking terms and for most of the book I really couldn't imagine an HEA for them. However, despite my doubts by the time the ending rolled around I was satisfied and even had a bit of a tear in my eye! An added bonus is that there are enough well developed side characters that I was entertained even when Mark and Anna weren't on the page..
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely. I really liked what I saw of Jane and can't wait for her book.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, I think most contemporary romance readers would enjoy this one.