This time out, I have another debut author, Lisa Dale, with Simple Wishes (Grand Central). Adele Matin hasn't come back to her mother's house on Notch Lane since she was a teenager. Her relationship with her mother was always strained, and when Adele left, she never looked back. Nor did her mother ever try to contact her in New York City. Now Adele has nowhere else to go, but to her late mother's cottage in the mountains of Pennsylvania, though it's the last place she'd choose to be. Her arrival doesn't go unnoticed, and the neighboring cottages have occupants she didn't know when she was a girl, including the quiet artist Jay Westvelt, who intriges Adele. The longer she stays in the cottage, though, the more she realizes she didn't know about herself or her mother, and she may not like the things she's discovering (no thanks to those around her who'd rather some things stay secret). She spends time with Jay, as well as her neighbors on the other side, an older couple and their granddaughter, and her aunt. Some of these folks want things from her. Some don't, and Adele has to decide whether she can stay or if she really wants to go back to NYC. I found Adele very hard to like. I understand the need for some mystery when you start to tell a story; after all, if you know all the secrets up front, there's no need for the story. But Adele is distant to the point of rudeness sometimes, and the entire story is told from her perspective. I'd have liked to see some of Jay's point of view at times, if only to get out of her head for a few pages. This one is also not strictly a romance; there is so much else going on, with Adele's discovering the truth about her past, and her relationship with the neighboring teenager. I'd almost call this one women's fiction with a strong romantic element, rather than a romance. Unfortunately, I didn't like it much, so it's earned only two of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!