April Love’s passion is cooking. Her goal is to run her own catering business one day, but for now she’s thrilled that her aunt Kitty called to inform her of a culinary position that just opened up in her hometown of Canoga Lake, Wisconsin. The job would be working as head chef for Rescate, a ministry for needy kids being run from a donated centuries-old mansion within walking distance from her aunt’s home.
April arrives from Atlanta for an interview, shocked to discover that her ex-fiance, Marc Thorne, is Assistant Director for Rescate. Last she heard, Marc was in California, studying for his doctorate. She assumed he’d be married with children by now. But she quickly learns that he’s still single and available. Instantly, the old feelings start to surface, but April is determined to guard her heart this time.
"THYME FOR LOVE is a quick and entertaining read, with snappy dialogue and true-to-life characters."
Much to her delight, April is hired on the spot by Ramon Galvez. But the next morning, Ramon turns up dead, and April finds herself in the middle of chaos. At first, his death is ruled a heart attack, but then signs of murder start turning up. When Marc’s name is mentioned as a possible suspect, April and Marc set out together to find a killer.
Debut author Pamela S. Meyers has created a tale full of zany characters, nice plot twists and plenty of clues to keep you guessing. There’s no shortage of suspects, including a handful of women in Galvez’s life, and a bull-riding cowboy. Add to that a talking parrot named Pedro that can’t seem to stay contained in its cage, several gossiping office workers, and the small, tight-knit setting of Canoga Lake, and you have yourself a fun and delightful cozy mystery.
Then there’s the romantic element. April and Marc share quite a history. They broke off their engagement eight years ago, when Marc left for California to pursue a PhD in ministry. But now he’s here in Canoga Lake, with no doctorate to show for it. It’s clear that Marc wants to pick up where they left off, but April would like some answers. When she asks him about the past eight years and why he abandoned his dream, Marc skirts around the questions. He refuses to come clean on what happened in California, causing April to be even more apprehensive. She can’t help but speculate, and finally does some digging on her own. Of course, this makes Marc angry. He says some hurtful things, and it’s April’s turn to pull away. This game of push and pull continues throughout the story, which is frustrating at times, but also makes for effective romantic suspense. Both characters are likable, and rooting for them is unavoidable.
THYME FOR LOVE is a quick and entertaining read, with snappy dialogue and true-to-life characters. God is talked about openly, and the faith element is woven into the characters’ personalities and evidenced by the choices they make. Both April and Marc are Christians and never lose sight of that fact. One underlying message regarding gossip shines through. Although not preachy, I found myself saying “ouch” a few times as I realized how much I fall prey to the common practice of passing on information I have no business repeating. But sometimes it’s good to have our toes stepped on a bit.
All in all, this is a light and charming novel with lots of humor (the name April Love provided many opportunities for laughs). THYME FOR LOVE is the first of three books in the On the Road to Love series, and I look forward to seeing what is in store for April and Marc.
Reviewed by Lynda Schab on January 18, 2012