Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, and Allyson Charles
August 27, 2019
Every autumn, Moonbright, Maine, is the picture of charm with its piles of crisp leaves, flickering jack-o’-lanterns … and a touch of the sweetest kind of enchantment.
Witches, goblins, the occasional ghost—they’re all sure to be spotted at the annual Halloween parade, where adults and children alike dress in costume to celebrate Moonbright’s favorite holiday. And no place has more seasonal spirit than Bellaluna’s Bakeshop, a family business steeped in traditional recipes, welcoming warmth—and, legend has it, truly spellbinding, heart-melting treats …
Between good-natured Halloween tricks, frothy pumpkin lattes, and some very special baked goods, for three Moonbright residents looking for love—whether they know it or not—the spookiest thing will be how magical romance can suddenly be …
A billion years ago (okay, three, three years ago 😉 ) I reviewed a fun Halloween anthology from Kensington Books called The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine, which had the setting of Moonbright, Maine. Happily, we have returned to Moonbright and Halloween in Kensington’s latest anthology, The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice.
The three novellas in The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice each have stories involving Bellaluna’s bakeshop where magical matchmaking is on the menu.
While Donna Kauffmans’s “Sweet Magic” was probably the best written of the three novellas, the actual story of Abrianna, Sofia’s (of the magical bakeshop) granddaughter, and Caleb, who has come to Moonbright to run his uncle’s Greek restaurant while his uncle is on vacation, didn’t come together for me. As I’ve said in the past, probably most recently in the past week, romance novellas can be a hard sell when it comes to instalove.
I enjoyed Allyson Charles’ “Love Spells Disaster” (nice play on words) until Cassie showed herself to be judgmental and rude regarding Chip, the handyman and love interest. This is another thing about novellas, if you have a rude main character, you have very little time to redeem that character for your reading. In this case, that just never happened. Cassie would apologize only to make a rude comment as an attempt at making a joke. Nope, just nope.
My favorite of the three was Kate Angell’s “Sweet on You.” Lara and Jack have known each other in passing forever. Lara always presumed that someone like Jack, a smart jock in high school and now Mayor of Moonbright, would never look at someone like her. I loved this story’s humor, especially with the crotchety character of Edna. Lara and Jack were engaging. Definitely a good story to end the anthology with.
Fittingly at the end of each novella is a cookie recipe.
If you’re looking for an anthology of sweet seasonal romances, you might enjoy The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice .
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.