Have you ever met one of those people who always seems to have something interesting afoot? This short romance novel squeezes more adventures for its protagonist into a scant 78 pages than most of us will have in a lifetime. If it’s a bit rushed, it’s a good time nonetheless.
Wendy Dawson owns Middleton Yard’s Pub and Grub and is responsible for serving drinks and the aforementioned grub seven days a week. Tied to her duties so completely, she opts to build a studio apartment under the pub, but work barely begins when she’s kidnapped by thugs. A daring escape leads to even more adventures, including two dog-sled races, a new romance and the mother-of-all vacation nightmares. Roughly 20 minutes after each drama subsides, Wendy is sighing at the fact that life has gone back to normal, but it never stays that way for long.
Author Max Higgins may be envisioning this book as part of a series; the subtitle “Abduction” and information about Wendy on the back cover that’s not included in the novel itself leave the doors open for a sequel or prequel. If so, future books would benefit from a slowed-down approach that incorporates more detail into the jittery plot. Five life-changing adventures in so few pages make it read like a children’s chapter book for adults — or a story outline in need of elaboration.
That said, it’s clear that Higgins is having fun. The prose is clean and unfussy, and there’s a nice variety to Wendy’s adventures (during an ATV race, who do you think falls through a hole and into an old tunnel, only to dig up a box of buried treasure? That’s our girl!).
Middleton Yard’s Pub and Grub is a nice appetizer. If the author expanded on her ideas a bit, this could be a delicious and filling series. Readers who plow through romance novels at warp speed will snarf it up like a bag of popcorn and assuredly be back for more.
Also available as an ebook.