Saturday, March 11, 2023

Amy E. Reichert - The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.
For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells--the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World--means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina's always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who's much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina's side all through her lonely childhood.
Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He's charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn't have time for romance--she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she's in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe?
When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

Comment: The premise of this book caught my eye and having read other books by the author, I had an idea of how this might be like, and it turned out to be a very satisfying read for me.

In this novel heroine Sabrina is back to her parents' house in Wisconsin, after another job fail in New York. Sabrina loves writing, is a journalist but she does struggle to interact with others, such as making phone calls. The problem of going back is not just because she feels like a burden, but also due to her family legacy: the women in her family are able to see and speak with ghosts. 
In New York, Sabrina was free of this, which has caused a lot of problems as she was growing up, but near her hometown it's impossible to escape them. Her mother helps but sometimes it's not possible to avoid them, except Molly, a ghost who has been part of her life since she started seeing them.
Things change when she meets Ray at a park after a small accident and from that moment on, it seems they bump into each other all the time. She wants nothing to do with him because she fears he would laugh at her, but could it be her happiness has always been there waiting for her?

I really liked reading this book. Things happened to make me be able to dedicate hours to it without much interruption and I've discovered that nowadays, for the most part, this is the best way for me to savor a book better, especially if it's something I might not like as much - although this can depend on the book. That wasn't the case here, I was glued to the plot from the start and was rooting for Sabrina.

I believe that, in a way, this worked out so well for me in general because I identified with the heroine's thoughts on her choices and challenges. She often comments she feels a burden to her parents or that she made a mistake making them spend so much money and now she isn't using her degree as well as she feels she should, she still has student debts and she feels a little depressed. My personal situation isn't exactly the same - thankfully here public universities mean that a student can have scholarships or if someone is not eligible, the fees aren't impossible for some families - but I also think along these lines, am I good enough, am I making the right decisions, am I justifying my parents' help and money spent on me... I think I liked Sabrina for her situation alone.

Sabrina is also a bit shy or introverted, we are led to think that her teenager years were bad because of her ability to see ghosts, but this could be somehow extrapolated into anyone who has been bullied. She dislikes having to make phone calls and how I understand her! Too bad people can't just sent texts. Sabrina is, despite her "flaws", a good and genuine person and I liked following her live. Of course, part of this plot is to make her realize helping ghost won't be that bad, she has a good support system in her parents, she meets a great guy and the interesting part is how she slowly comes to realize he isn't like her high school sweetheart, who betrayed her trust.

Ray is, indeed, a great guy. He is back to take care of his uncle's legacy, especially in regards to the supper club he is managing but he still feels family pressure to let this go and focus again on what his parents aimed for his career. It's not that they dislike his current work, but they are sued to money and a certain status quo, meaning they would prefer him to go back. But Ray preserves and meeting Sabrina in such a funny way makes him think about putting down roots.

I liked the slow development of their relationship, how we could see they matched in the little things.. I wouldn't say the romance is perfect, since Sabrina is often scared he might see her differently after he discovers the ghost thing, but of course things happen exactly as they should, he is very respectful of her and she also helps him be strong to defend his wants for his life. They were a very sweet couple and while I could do with a bit more tension before they admitted their feelings it was still cute to see.

All in all, this was very entertaining, I really liked reading this and the family friend ghost even has a HEA, so only good aspects to consider. I know this might not be seen the same way by all, but several details made it really special for me.
Grade: 9/10

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