Review: THE COOK’S SECRET INGREDIENT by Meg Maxwell

*Sorry about the late posting.  The migraine’s almost gone now.  I sure hate that monster.*

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http://megmaxwell.com/

So, anyway, today I’m reviewing this Contemporary Romance by Meg Maxwell.  It has a single dad with a toddler son, which is just great.  I knew this author totally got the single parent thing, because I’ve read her books before.

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The greatest challenge for any single parent searching for a new partner is finding someone who also connects with his or her child.  How can you share parenting your most precious person with someone who doesn’t have a clue and couldn’t care less?  Dating as a single parent is lightyears away from dating as a non-parent.  It’s so hard.  Some single parents read these books searching for hope of finally find their real Happily Ever After.  My own mom did, in fact.

Ms. Maxwell does a great job with single parents.  I dearly hope she will be encouraged to do even more in the future.

Okay, so Olivia is this super-awesome cook who starts working out of a food truck.  She’s always had this gift for passing on good feelings to other people through her food.  One cannoli from her can turn a cranky old tramp into a sweetie-pie just like that.

Runs in the family.  Her mother used to tell people’s fortunes out of the back of her house.  Madame Miranda, they called her.  It was partly gift, partly human compassion.  But, everybody loved her and trusted her.

Except Carson.  But, he doesn’t trust anybody.  And with good reason.  He fell in love and fathered a son with a chick whose maternal instinct ended when the umbilical cord was cut.  Now he’s on his own with Danny and frankly flabberghasted that his own father is at all interested in being a grandfather after not being there hardly at all when he was growing up.

His dad, Edmund’s an awesome grandpa though.  Before she died, Madame Miranda told him that his second great love in life was a hairstylist named Sarah.

Carson’s not buying that.  His personal life, plus his private investigator career, has taught him some hard lessons in life.  He seeks out Olivia wanting to de-bunk what her mother said.  Trouble is her mother is dead now and Edmund’s dream woman bears a striking resemblance to her estranged aunt.

Carson figures Olivia has the same goal, to find Sarah, even though they have different motivations.  So they might as well work together.  But, no way is he going to do something stupid, like fall in love with her.  That’d be too hard on Danny.

But, hey, this is Harlequin, so you know he does anyway.

So, while all this is going on, Olivia is helping her friend figure out why she’s not actually in love with her fiancé and Carson’s trying to help a boy find his deadbeat dad.  Both side stories help them figure out their own romance.

Carson and Olivia search and find so many possible Sarahs.  Edmund just will not give up on the possibility of finding his second true love in life, no matter how cynical Carson is about it.

The world-building and secondary characters in this story are very well done and it was easy getting caught up in it.

I loved that Olivia wasn’t a kick-butt heroine born with a sword in one hand and a blaster in the other.  Despite no experience, her maternal instincts rang true and she bonded well with Danny.

The scar tissue on Carson’s heart was believable for a single dad in his situation, though I really didn’t find his personality appealing.  It was just a ‘not my cup of tea’ kind of thing.  You know me, I’m more of a George of the Jungle kind of girl.  Although, I found the hero of Ms. Maxwell’s other book, The Detective’s 8 lb, 10 oz Surprise, very appealing and he didn’t swing through the trees in a loincloth.

Anyway…

Like I said, I’ve read another one of Meg Maxwell’s books.  I can tell you she’s a reliable author if you’re looking for Contemporary Romance, especially novels with single parents in them.  She has about six of them now, looks like.

Happy reading!

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