If You Love Me (A Sugar Maple Novel Book 1)


WOMEN'S FICTION:  Drew Lancaster is ex-military, OCD and order driven. He’s sent to the small town of Sugar Maple, Tennessee, to make a film exemplifying southern perfection. Unfortunately, order is the last thing he finds. Instead he walks into a hornet’s nest of crazy citizens, a scheming mayor, feuding friends, and one very attractive mess of a baker. Carissa Donahue is spontaneous and disorganized, but she is also loyal to Sugar Maple and its loveable citizens. She will do whatever it takes to save the town, save her bakery, and increase tourism—even if it means dealing with Drew and making his film. Unless her arch-rival, fiancé-stealing, ex-best friend, Jackie, snags the top spot out from under her with her fashionable designs.

What a fun start to a new series by a well-established author!  The story is fresh and unique with characters who are easy to identify and individually distinct.  Initially the storyline felt a bit disjointed and the characters relationships were sometimes a bit strange. There was repetitiveness regarding Carissa’s parents abandoning her and how detrimental the internet show is for the town’s future. That established strong conflicts but also bogged down some of the dialogue and the story. There are also a few threads left hanging and small issues left unresolved. Still, if the characters in future books of this promising series follow through with their early development, readers will be delightfully anticipating the next installment and happy to take another trip to small town Sugar Maple. 

Emerson Matthews