A Spring of Romance | Butterfly Harbour alights on Jorie Loves A Story with “Recipe for Redemption” (Book Two) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Saturday, 12 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

whilst I began this new concentration by sharing my review of:
Gone in the Night

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases. 

Whilst receiving her Romantic Suspense novels, I also received the bulk of Butterfly Harbour in order to continue reading the series as the stories continue to publish and to maintain continuity which is important to me as a reader. I was overwhelmed by her kindness and it is a joy this New Year, 2022 to finally start to feature the stories of Butterfly Harbor. 

The first novel of Butterfly Harbour isn’t available in print anywhere in the world (don’t worry – I did the legwork for you, its literally GONE) but it is available in a digital format for those who can read ebooks. Thereby, I am starting my readings of Butterfly Harbour with Recipe for Redemption which is the second novel in the series. However, this is one novel I purchased myself as the first novel in the series I received from Ms Stewart is the third novel: “A Dad for Charlie”.

As I purchased this novel myself I was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Butterfly Harbour) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a notation about reading this series “Butterfly harbour”:

As you might have inferred, I did seek out “The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour” via out of print book shoppes online – both in the US and overseas. It seems like the print copies were quite beloved by their readers as I couldn’t find a used copy of the novel anywhere. However, I was thankful for those who read digitally will be thrilled they can find a copy for themselves. I don’t mind starting on the second in the series as generally that is a second best place to begin a long-running series, as you know going in the author is gong to recap what is pertinent to know about the series and any characters therein who might have been revealled in the first novel. If you can’t start at book one, book two is definitely the best way to feel anchoured!

I will say, I did chase down a chapter sampler of The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour in order to seek out the author’s note in the beginning of the novel. Stewart shares heaps of insight in her author’s notes and I knew, if I couldn’t read the full novel, I definitely wanted to know what she had written about in that note! After all, it kicks off the whole series! And, I wasn’t disappointed! I loved how this series is connected to her grandmother and how butterflies play such a large role behind what initially inspired the choice to name the towne – it reminded me of memories of my own grandmother and how connective of a relationship you can share from grandmother to grand-daughter or even in my case, great-grand-daughter to great-grandmother! I was blessed to have two sets of grand-parents and a great-grand as well.

The note also gave out key information about the title characters of the novel and how that first novel was centred round a romantic redemption plot wherein both characters had to bury the hatchet about their past so to speak. I would have loved to have seen that evolution but I was perfectly happy to reside in Butterfly Harbour inbound from Recipe for Redemption all the same! Likewise, I was quite wicked happy when I realised how The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour was interlinked into Recipe for Redemption in regards to how the anchour is provided through a character important to Abby, of whom, is happily very present within the timeline of the sequel.

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The Butterfly Harbour series:

The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour by Anna J. StewartRecipe for Redemption by Anna J. Stewart

The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour (book one)

Can people truly change?

Two things keep Holly Campbell grounded: her precocious son and preserving her forty-year-old family diner in the face of expansion and change. She doesn’t need a blast from the past like Luke Saxon, who’s back in Butterfly Harbor after more than a decade away. The hard-luck kid who nearly destroyed her family, leaving her to pick up the pieces, is taking over as sheriff. She can’t trust him, even if Luke’s ideas for the town’s upcoming anniversary seem to show he’s trying to give back to their community. Has Butterfly Harbor found its unlikely savior? And has the widowed single mother finally found a man she can believe in, rely on…and love

Recipe for Redemption (book two)

A Dad for Charlie (book three)

Always the Hero (book four)

Holiday Kisses (book five)

Safe in His Arms (book six)

The Firefighter’s Thanksgiving Wish (book seven)

A Match Made Perfect (book eight)

Bride on the Run (book nine)

Building a Surprise Family (book ten)

Worth the Risk (book eleven)

The Mayor’s Baby Surprise (book twelve)

← *forthcoming release: April, 2022!

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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A Spring of Romance | Butterfly Harbour alights on Jorie Loves A Story with “Recipe for Redemption” (Book Two) by Anna J. StewartRecipe for Redemption
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Purchased | Personal Library

From the frying pan…

Abby Manning has to take home first prize in an amateur cooking competition to save her town’s landmark inn–and longtime home for her ailing grandmother. Too bad the Butterfly Harbor innkeeper is a complete disaster in the kitchen. Undeterred, Abby asks her latest guest to teach her the basics.

A family tragedy and ensuing scandal derailed Jason Corwin’s high-profile career. But is the gifted celebrity chef going to let one mistake define the rest of his life? Add in a generous helping of mutual attraction and another burgeoning scandal, and it could be a recipe for star-crossed romance…or disaster, especially if a win for Abby costs Jason his professional future.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Foodie Fiction, Romance Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Undercover Heat, Colton on the Run, Gone in the Night, Guarding His Midnight Witness

Series: Butterfly Harbor

Setting: Butterfly Harbor

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

Format: Trade Paperback

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance and #ButterflyHarbor
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming

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a note about the author’s note:

One of the key reasons I’ve been drawn into the world of Harlequin Heartwarming are the realistic stories being penned by Heartwarming authors. Case in point: Ms Stewart has written a note to her readers ahead of each of these installments which personalise the readerly experience – in this particular installment, its about the butterfly effect, of how each of us has the power to impact others in ways that are not always visible. It can also reflect how we can touch lives at a great distance and/or have an impact at an unknown time interval depending on your prospective.

I loved the antidote from her real life – about the Shakespearean Professor who impacted her life as a young girl – trust me, you’ll want to read her note ahead of reading Recipe for Redemption to find out how they shared a lifelong connection! Those are the moments in our lives which count the most – where people have an influence on us and positive after effect, to where even if they depart our company, a piece of them remain.

And, I also agreed – next to faith and family – the community of people we surround ourselves with is most important and however which way we come to have family is equally important. This can be found family, adoptive families or the neighbours and/or community members who become like second families in of their own simply due to how strong your connection becomes to those persons as you get to know them on a personal level. The key of course is living in an open-minded area to where people interact with people irregardless if you share the same politics, religion or opinions – the best friends sometimes find themselves to be polar opposites but it is what they share together which will always unite them. Sometimes you can’t always seek out those who are too similar to you because you’ll cancel each other out – not always, but it can happen.

What has appealled to me about Butterfly Harbour* since I first learnt of it are a few key notes to be made now ahead of my first review: a) the small towne effect, b) the close-connectedness of the towne itself, c) found families and families of all kinds, d) second-chance love and unexpected romances and e) a series to soak inside for multiple installments and feel as if you’ve lived there yourself!!

NOTE: I personally spelt harbor as *harbour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #ButterflyHarbor to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, harbor is harbour but that’s just a personal quirk.

my review of receipt for redemption:

It is hard not to laugh when Jason first arrives at the Flutterby Inn – from that initial first moment where his instincts for understanding smoke and flame to his first impressions of the owner, Abby and her grandmother Alice; there is plenty of fodder to chew on! Ironically, I liked the moxie Abby had within her to believe she could cook and bake; despite all evidence to the contrary! Abby had the kind of attitude of doing what you believe you can achieve even before you have the ability to accomplish it. It’s that self-motivating passion which I think Jason appreciated but didn’t quite respect when they first met which left the best impression.

Jason by contrast was a bit harder to get an impression on as he held his emotions bottled inside him and once a few revelations are revealled about what has been going on in his life over the past half year do you start to realise he’s going through his own crisis. Your heart goes out to him – because its not the kind of crisis which is easily navigable. You have to pick a route through that kind of crisis and I felt, Stewart made the best choice to plant Jason in Butterfly Harbour. A place where he could let his soul heal and perhaps be kinder to his heart. Yet, he just can’t  help himself – he has a way of being off-putting to those he interacts with as much as he has a way of critically looking at the world with jaded eyes. For him to embrace Butterfly Harbour, he’s going to have to do an about-turn on his old habits and truly take in an experience he never wanted.

Part of this story has an overshadow of a ghost walking beside Jason – a person so close to him and important to his identity as much as the one person he cannot let go of now after they’ve passed. It is intricately important to the plot as much as to the character of Jason himself. He has built up this separation in his life – from his life to his living reality to the perception of what life is without the person he cannot concede has gone on without him into the next life. I understood that part of the story from the beginning – the ache of grief and the lingering effect of sorrow, especially how life can shift and re-shuffle before your even ready to embrace those inevitable changes and still find a way to put your feet forward. Anyone whose gone through loss in their lives can respect the path Jason was walking but its how he was allowing himself to wallow rather than step through his grief which was hindering him the most. He was caught between the past and the present and I was keen to see how Stewart would re-shift his path forward.

Our emotions can wreck us. They can erase anything which used to give us joy and they can be the stopping blocks of what prevents us from moving forward. Stewart expertly explores this through Recipe for Redemption as the long journey towards the redemption her characters are each seeking for each other is hard won. Not the kind which comes lightly through a bit of hard work but the harder kind that takes both internal growth and outward courage. At first I thought it was just Jason who needed the most redemption but it was also clear to me before the first quarter of the novel it was also reflected through Abby. She had put her soul on the line for this Inn and she truly believed in the towne itself – in what it stood for and what it was for her as a person who had resided there her whole life. From that vantage point, you understood what she was risking and why that risk was worth it for her to take-on even if the outcome wasn’t guaranteed. Sometimes in life you just have to double-down and dare to believe you can manifest your dreams.

As we shift into the cooking lessons between Jason and Abby, Stewart flexes her strength showing emotionally directive narrative as the lessons are not limited to the kitchen. It is a lovely metaphor of sorts for not just working on a task at hand presently but for reaching past that particular focus and stepping into the harder work they each need to endure in order to sprout new wings to fly away from their past. Stewart layers this story beautifully between the guilt both her characters have for their own intentional directions – for Abby, its the guilt of not being able to achieve what she feels she must accomplish and for Jason, its a lifetime of reconciling the past against the present. They each have so much internal anguish to work through and yet, both of them have trouble ‘letting go’ of the hurtful inner monologue which seeks to destroy them.

My favourite scene by far is the secret place Abby takes Jason which brings to heart the name of the towne: Butterfly Harbour. It was such a warm and inviting scene – quite unexpected and dearly descriptive to where you felt the joy of the moment Abby and Jason were experiencing as if you had transported to that particular place yourself. Stewart enveloped us in the simplicity of having that moment and of tucking into the innocence of what that moment represented. Nature has a way of giving us lessons without words and through the emotions we feel in the moments we spend outside with nature are hours we never quite forget. This is a scene you will think about long after you’ve moved on with the story. It was absolutely, brilliant!

One character who felt so wholly realised and full of life straight off the page was Calliope Jones; and she would make a wicked good best friend! I loved her ability to disarm Jason within minutes of meeting him simply through how her assessment of his character which was bang-on accurate! Yet it was her presence and her strength of personality which charmed me the most. She had a moxie of her own making and it was lovely to see in-scene with Abby and Jason. As those two are the characters who are re-writing their own living histories in this story – both at the junction of where the past and future connect through the present. Of which Stewart makes you wait patiently whilst they work through the things which take the most time to resolve. Even if neither of them fully understood the path they were walking whilst continuing to find their lives merging together – they had a lot to gain and a lot to lose through their actions and choices. I loved how Calliope knew all of it without needing to know too much about their history together. Some people get people – call it intuition, call it prescience; whichever way you interpret it, Calliope is one of those special people you dearly want to have in your circle. And, I, for one, hope she’s one of the characters who continues to pop up in the series.

Throughout the cooking competition and even a bit before it – we started to see Jason emerge from his cocoon of grief whilst Abby was trying not to fall inside the spiral of stress surrounding her life. Jason was good for Abby, for pushing her past her fears and likewise, I enjoyed watching Abby nudge Jason back into a lifestyle he had chosen to abandon. He was one of those chefs with the kind of passion you can only be bourne with being given. His story beautifully comes together through Abby’s own journey towards redemption for the parts of her life which she didn’t feel she deserved to have any kind of mercy. For Jason, I felt what was most fitting was he could finally close the door on his past and rectify the issues he had with his father – though, I never would have foreseen just how deviously vile his father could be until I read that particular chapter! Whoa. Stewart saved the best scenes for Jason in the final chapters and for me, it clarified so much and it was such a satisfying way to see this story conclude.

I loved how invested we’ve become into Butterfly Harbour and how the townespeople knit themselves into your heart. This is why I thrive on reading small towne fiction and why I personally love getting engrossed in serial fiction. You know there will be more windows and doors to explore with these characters and new ones down the road and that is what is most fitting about beginning the adventure! The joy of continued blissitude in following their lives, getting tucked inside their emotions and celebrating with them as they overcome adversity and strife. Butterfly Harbour is a brilliant respite from our lives and a kind reminder about how life curiously gives us enough unexpected resolutions to keep us hopeful for our own tomorrows being less stressful than our yesterdays.

Content Note:

As I’ve witnessed what happens in the story first hand, I was a bit more squeamish than most because sometimes when you get cut by a knife its hard to stop what happens afterwards! Therefore in case your sensitive to knives or blood, just know there is a small scene that involves both but everything resolves quite quickly. It is also the only time something like this happens.

on the contemporary romantic styling of anna j. stewart:

Getting invested into a plot which involves a hidden identity is one I have oft enjoyed in the past – as someone has a secret and others either aren’t aware of the secret or will find out about it along the course of the story. There lies the drama because if the secret is a good one (like someone knowingly famous or has a recognisable name) it makes the wait and see moments of what becomes disclosed even more entertaining! Plus, too, seeing if the person can maintain their secret and what they have to wrestle with internally because of it is also par for course because of all the complications which could arise.

I’ve come to appreciate how layered Stewart writes her Contemporary Romances – she doesn’t just sink you inside a plot and the background of her characters — she writes layered romances which slowly build round the dramas of her characters’ lives whilst giving you a heap of things to ponder as you start to peel back the scenes of her stories wherein there is a lot going on! I love how she has the tenacity to always challenge us as readers – to never give us a scene or a conversation between her characters’ we’d expect but rather, share a moment between them that is also a challenge to them. To peer harder into their own lives and take a closer stock of assessment to understand where they are themselves at the time in which we arrive in their life. To me, its a critical look at lives which could be living composites of our own and I love her instincts for telling these kinds of stories. I was immediately drawn into Butterfly Harbour and all the intricacies which go with it.

I had to smirk when I first saw the mention of ‘Charlie’ as I knew Stewart would find a way to lead forward with the introduction of the character whose next in line to be showcased in A Dad for Charlie. I smirked because I noted that Charlie was a reader as much as I was and she pushed the envelope for how late one can stay up to read when your growing up! Laughs. How many times I had pushed that myself and of course, thankfully, my parents weren’t overly strict when it came to bedtimes if I were reading — as at one point, they let me decide how late was ‘too late’ vs telling me how late was too ‘late’ in order to function the next morning. Somehow I found my rhythm and I was grateful for the freedom to choose when to leave a story and how long I could stay within one – but part of me wondered, if other kids were given that kind of freedom too?

Charlie made another appearance towards the last quarter of the novel and I must say, she’s spunky! I loved how she was writ to have an air of comfortability around adults and especially how she was encouraged to make Jason feel more welcome in the towne. She had loads of charm and personality but it was her independence and kindness which stood the most. I definitely knew her story was going to touch my heart in such a dear way. It was lovely to have such a build up into her story threading through Recipe for Redemption.

As this story is set in a towne named after butterflies, I was expecting there to be references to butterflies sprinkled throughout the series and I was not disappointed! However, it was the choices in Stewart’s descriptions of butterflies and how she put butterflies into the background of this story which gave me the most loveliest of joys to read. I love whenever a writer is so intuitively connected to nature that whenever they describe it in their story, it feels as if you’ve been able to walk beside them and observe what they had seen themselves to inspire the moments they’ve written into their stories. That is the effect I felt as I read about butterflies in this novel.

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Whilst blogging about my love of Heartwarming novels and series, in my latest #TheSundayPost (arrived on the 13th, February) I mention the following:

Plus, one reason I love Heartwarming stories are the realistic ways in which characters are presented — they have hurdles and challenges to overcome, sometimes their on a path of personal growth and other times, their looking for a second chapter or a second chance to resume their lives. That’s the beauty of Heartwarming for me. Real life in Fiction.

And, its such a true statement for me as a reader. Stewart explores what it is like to have a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s which I can relate to myself as my grandfather had it, too. She also explores grief, loss and the hard transitional period of resolving what ‘comes next’ after great sorrow. She gives her characters real-life challenges to work through and within those moments endears us all to better understand all our journeys a bit more as her story progresses forward.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the books or were thinking you might be inclined to read them.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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This review will be cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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in conjunction with my #SaturdraysAreBookish feature:

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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#SatBookChat logo badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Ms Stewart has been an active guest during #SatBookChat for the past few years – anchoured to her new releases for Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Romantic Suspense – which is their Contemporary imprint not to be confused with Love Inspired which is their INSPY Contemporary Romantic Suspense imprint I regularly read. On 26th February, 2022, she dropped by #SatBookChat to discuss the Honor Bound series with us whilst answering my questions about how she approached writing the series inasmuch as we discussed the Butterfly Harbor series (where I learnt the final chapter is arriving this Spring, 2022 with the twelve release), her new non-Harlequin Romantic Suspense release (which is grittier, read more violently described) and of course, we referenced the third series interlinked to the Blackwells arriving in August, 2022 as well. Because of course I couldn’t not mention the Blackwells!

I had intended to start to feature this series and Butterfly Harbor in February, but had to push forward my reviews into March instead. “Gone in the Night” kicks off three #CrimeFicFridays this March whilst my next #SaturdaysAreBookish features “Recipe for Redemption” as the kick-off to a review series for Butterfly Harbor leading up to the 12th and final release coming in April, 2022.

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with a note of gratitude to the author
for introducing me to Butterfly Harbour:

About Ms Anna J. Stewart

Anna J. Stewart

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines as well as ARC Manor. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines and the men who love them.

A former RWA Golden Heart nominee, Anna’s books have finaled in the Daphne DuMaurier and National Reader’s Choice awards. Her sweet romance RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION was recently turned into a holiday movie for UPtv (A CHRISTMAS RECIPE FOR ROMANCE) which aired during the 2019 holiday season.

Since her first novella with Harlequin in 2014, Anna has written and published more than forty romances in multiple sub-genres. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural and Jason Momoa addiction and two slightly nutty cats named Rosie and Sherlock. When she's not writing, you can find her cooking and baking, binge-watching classic TV and cooking shows, attending fan conventions, or heading to the movies.

You can read more about Anna, her books, and the writing workshops she offers on her website linked in this biography.

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{SOURCES: Cover art for the Butterfly Harbor series “The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor” and “Recipe for Redemption” as well as the author’s photograph and biography were all provided by Anna J. Stewart and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner, #SatBookChat badge, Celebrating Spring reading Anna J. Stewart stories banner and the comment box badge.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 12 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chefs and Sous Chefs, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Cookery, Life Shift, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

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