With a compelling twist on the wounded war hero story and an intense exploration of what makes up a family, Mallery has set the bar high for the books to follow in her new Blackberry Island series. The characters — both furry and human — come to life in their small-town setting and will touch readers’ hearts and funny bones.
Michelle Sanderson, who ran away and joined the army 10 years ago, has returned home to claim her inheritance, the Blackberry Island Inn. She also needs to recover from the physical and emotional damage of war and figure out a new life as a civilian. At the helm of the inn is single mother Carly Williams, who has been trying to live down her high school reputation and a string of betrayals. She and Michelle were once best friends. Now, the two women will be forced to call a truce to save the inn. To move on and rediscover their one-time bond, they each must find the strength to face their fears and let go of past hurts. (MIRA, Apr., 368 pp., $14.95)