How Sweet It Is

Author: Sophie Gunn

Publisher: Grand Central

Release Date: January 1, 2011

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5


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Lizzie Bea Carpenter, a single mom with a teenage daughter, Paige, works as a waitress to make ends meet. When her parents died they left the family home to her, which is a bone of contention between Lizzie and her sister Annie, especially now that Annie is going through postpartum depression, having given birth six months earlier. Annie is happily married to a local police officer, Tommy, and has a beautiful home of her own, but she targets her anger at Lizzie. At sixteen, Lizzie had gotten pregnant, but her boyfriend, Paige’s father, wanted no part of it. Having the house with no mortgage helped Lizzie and Paige get by. But though the house was in a nice neighborhood, the house was all run down, since she had no money for repairs.  She belongs to a group who were all rivals and leaders of their own packs in high school. Lizzie had been the good girl who had gone bad. The members of the group have agreed that they will always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Tay Giovanni had come to the college town of Galton, New York for one reason. He had hit and killed Candy, a college student’s mom and could not get over the guilt. Distracted, he had gone through the red light and hit the other car head on. He knew he could never get Candy’s forgiveness, but seeing the enemies who had become friends, he held out hope. He traveled with his dog, a sheltie. Dune and he had managed to pick up a cat at a rest stop. He wanted nothing to do with the cat and had developed a superstition about it, that once he was forgiven, the cat would leave. But so far, the cat was still there. In his old life, he had owned two apartment buildings in Queens. He had saved his whole life for those buildings and had hoped to expand. But with the accident, he lost all taste for business, for success or even for happiness. He had sold off his properties, paid off everyone, given some to charity and the rest was in a duffel bag to be given to Candy.

Out of the blue, Lizzie received a letter from Geneva, written on expensive stationary. Paige’s father wants to see her…on Christmas Day. She is in the midst of discussing this new problem with her group at the restaurant where she is working as Tay is drinking his coffee, unable to avoid overhearing. But when Lizzie makes a wish for the perfect man…someone who will show up, fix her place and leave…he figures why not.

Although he had given Candy the money, despite her protests, he later discovered that she had thrown the money in a gorge and there were plenty of those around this town. Tay did not want the money back but he could not see throwing away two hundred thousand dollars. Looking for the money gives his days a purpose, but what will he do with his nights?

Not quite light enough yet to look for the money, Tay came across Lizzie’s house. In the early morning, checking out the house, Tay sees that it needs extensive repairs. Tweaking the light and seeing it come back on makes him happy…something he needs more of. Lying in bed, Lizzie worries about the reappearance of Paige’s dad and wonders if she is about to lose Paige to him. Looking outside, she sees a strange man on his knees, fixing her gate. Confronting him, she explains that she does not want charity. Though he leaves, the next day, he is right back there again. She cannot deny the man is handsome with his dark hair and green eyes, but she does not know the man. He is not only sexy, he is offering her help with no strings attached, but her past still has a grip on her and she believes there is a price to be paid for everything. Although Tay has his own problems, he wants to give Liz more than just help; he wants to give her love. Can they overcome their pasts and find a love worth fighting for?

A tender and humorous read, HOW SWEET IT IS, the first book in the ENEMY CLUB series, is a delightful contemporary romance that I found hard to put down. I found myself rooting for the hero and heroine. Liz is on pins and needles, knowing Paige’s father is coming to town and worrying about losing her daughter. The idea of an enemy club, which is an unusual and creative notion for a club, gave Tay hope that he could be forgiven, though the death was an accident. In this debut novel, Author Sophie Gunn brings her characters to life right before your eyes, with a believable and entertaining plot, tenderness, witty and warmhearted emotions, romance and loads of love. I look forward to reading her next book, SWEET KISS OF SUMMER, the second book in the ENEMY CLUB series, scheduled to be released in August, 2011.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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