"Lilac Lane"

If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber's novels, you will feel right at home reading "Lilac Lane." Its author, Sherryl Woods, writes about family, home and characters who find a place in the reader's heart much like Macomber does. 

The setting of this story begins in Ireland where Kiera Malone is reeling from the unexpected death of her beloved, Peter McDonough. He had just proposed marriage to her earlier that day.

Kiera is devastated. Her first husband, Sean Malone, had abandoned her with three young children. Kiera had vowed never to let another man into her heart. However, Peter waited patiently ignoring her best efforts to dissuade him. She was overwhelmed trying to make a living working at a pub so that she could support her family. Finally her children are grown and Kiera feels ready for a little happiness. That is when she opened her heart to Peter and then the tragedy happened.

The story changes location, moving to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland where Kiera's father, Dillon O'Malley and her step-mother, Nell, live. Kiera's only daughter, Miora O'Malley also lives there with her husband, Luke and baby Kate.

Luke is the owner of the Irish pub in town. Because of what has happened to her mother, Miora thinks that Kiera should come to Chesapeake Shores for an extended visit. She thinks that her mother would enjoy being with her granddaughter and maybe would like to work some in Luke's Irish pub.

Kiera goes to Chesapeake Shores to begin a new chapter in her life. She is hesitant about staying very long, but her family hopes that will change. Meeting her granddaughter for the first time is a joy-filled occasion as Kate settles peacefully in Kiera's arms.

The only complication of her move is getting a work visa so that she can begin helping Luke at his pub. Luke had given her details about what work she might be doing which looked to be more of a consultant job, at least initially. He tells her that the chef, Bryan Laramie, considers the kitchen his domain. Kiera begins to spend more time in the kitchen observing Bryan's food preparations and questioning his every move.

Luke finally notices that Kiera is getting under Bryan's skin because of her questioning. Luke talks with Bryan about this problem and Bryan realizes that Kiera is rattling him and he doesn't know why. Luke suggests to Kiera that she compliment Bryan more when she likes a dish that he prepares for the sake of harmony. It looks to Luke like they are battling wits over control of the kitchen.

Although things aren't working out in the pub's kitchen, Kiera is feeling more of the family closeness as she visits with her father and stepmother. Her visa has cleared for a six-month stay so she decides to rent a cottage instead of staying with her daughter and family.

Kiera finds a lovely cottage by the bay completely furnished. The only drawback is that her neighbor is Bryan Laramie. Bryan finds out that she is going to be staying for six months so he decides to ask her for a truce. She accepts and so begins a change that betters both of them. They begin sharing more of their past lives and Kiera finds out why Bryan is troubled. Friendly competition to see who can make the better Irish stew becomes a challenge to both of them. The final chapters are revealing as we see what happens to Kiera and Bryan and their future in Chesapeake Shores.

I found myself eagerly reading this novel and hoping to read more of the author's works.