In the followup to Small Town Girl, Rice gives practical Amy Warren her chance to shine. Her two protagonists couldn't come from more different backgrounds, yet they have more in common than they think. This is not only a warm and genuine love story, it's the story of a town struggling to stay afloat. Rice is a master at filling her stories with humor, passion and a down-to-earth reality.

Single mom Amy is doing her best to raise two small children, find a job and save a community. She hopes to combine two of her goals by helping the town purchase and restart the defunct local fabric mill. But European businessman Jacques Saint-Etienne makes a bid on the old Northfork Mill. All Jacques really wants from the mill are the antique pattern designs that may still exist somewhere in the abandoned buildings.

Amy suspects that Jacques isn't interested in actually running the mill, but his good-natured charm and warmth touch something in her. For his part, Jacques, or "Zack" as he comes to be known, finds it increasingly difficult to keep his eye on the financial prize when Amy turns out to be such a delicious distraction. (BALLANTINE, Feb., 364 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith