The Heroine: Kate Appleton, a recently divorced young woman struggling to find the money to refurbish her family's old home on Lake Michigan, called The Nutshell, into a bed and breakfast. Hired by Matt, the sexy owner of the Depot Brewery, to spy on his employees and figure out who has been sabotaging his business, Kate finds herself in the direct path of the culprit. Lively, funny and brave, Kate takes on danger and hijinks in order to save her family home and finds love in the process.
The Highs: Love in a Nutshell is a hilarious and fast-paced read. I especially enjoyed the protagonist, Kate, whose energetic, outgoing attitude and fearlessness really adds a fun and exciting factor to the book. Kate is definitely a welcome change from the romantic, softly feminine heroines from period stories. Thoroughly modern and ready to take on the world, Kate is the type of heroine that provides a great beach read or quenches a chick-lit craving, akin to Becky Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic.
I also loved the romance between Kate and Matt, her boss at the Depot Brewery. It develops slowly and naturally over the course of the book, with enough humour and wit to balance out the tenderness. Matt is a great hero for the story, and has enough panache himself to be a good match for Kate. Their romance is sweet, funny and most importantly, believable.
I also enjoyed the mystery element of the story. Kate is hired by Matt to find out who is sabotaging his business and I liked the clues woven subtly into the plot. Typically I have a pretty easy time figuring out who the culprit is, but even I was fooled by Love in a Nutshell. I liked the surprise!
The Lows: I wished there was a little more character development in the minor characters, such as Kate's friend Ella and Matt's sisters. I felt like Ella especially was just a stock character, without any real purpose other than someone to act as a sounding board for Kate (though friendships like this do exist in real life!).
Though this story is cute and funny, I missed the substance of more serious novels. I would advise anyone looking for meaning behind literature to skip this one.
Final Thoughts: Love in a Nutshell is a funny, action-packed read for anyone looking for a quick hit of girlishness and frivolity.
Rating: Love in a Nutshell earns seven pints out of ten.
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