It was desperation for her young daughter, Hannah, that brought Maddy Bainbridge to Paradise Point, NJ. All her life, Maddy and her mother, Rose, have been like oil and water. Yet when Rose offers Maddy the opportunity to help run the Candlelight Inn, the offer is too good to refuse.

During an online auction, Maddy spies an antique Russian samovar resembling Aladdin's lamp. Knowing her daughter's love of Aladdin, Maddy bids furiously. On the other side of town, former firefighter turned barkeep, Aidan O'Malley, is also determined to own the samovar. Maddy ultimately wins the bidding war, but fate brings Aidan and Maddy into contact.

Life has not been kind to either Aidan or Maddy, but the spark that passes between them can't be ignored. Family relationships are often complex and inscrutable, which of course can make for fascinating reading. Exploring relationships and the drama of human emotions are specialties of Barbara Bretton, and once again she delivers. (May, 400 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith