Flavor of the Month by Georgia Beers is a second chance romance. Be prepared to have baked goods on hand when you’re reading this, because you’ll be sad if you don’t.

Charlie Stetko is returning to her hometown so she can lick her wounds and regroup. She’d had it all in Manhattan. Living with her super hot, wealthy girlfriend, Darcy, and pursuing her dream by working at Darcy’s top-tier marketing firm. When Darcy broke up with her, Charlie lost everything in one fell swoop, because she no longer had a home, job, or girlfriend.

Moving back in with her parents in Shaker Falls, Vermont is embarrassing, but at least it’s a soft place to land, and Charlie’s mom helps her get a part-time job baking pies at a new local bakery. Charlie’s in for a surprise when she learns that her ex-girlfriend, Emma, is also back in town and she’s the owner and head chef of a popular restaurant.

Emma Grier was heartbroken when Charlie abandoned her for New York City and fell into Darcy’s bed. So, no, Charlie’s return is not good news to her. But Emma can’t avoid Charlie because the bakery supplies desserts to her restaurant.

The more they see each other, the better they get along, but can Emma open her heart to Charlie again? And is Charlie able to commit to anything when she has her heart set on getting back out to big-city life?

The Characters

What’s not to love about Emma and Charlie? They’re really good, likeable people that I could see myself hanging out with.

Okay, fine. Charlie sometimes has dubious taste in women and I don’t see why or how she could have left Emma (and she ghosted her, which is terrible). Even so! It was so good to see her character growth and how that revolved around figuring out what is truly important to her.

Emma has a couple of big things going on. The first, of course, is figuring out what to do with Charlie being back in town, because that really does throw her for a loop. The other is related to her dad, who had left when she was young. It was interesting to see how that part of her arc helped her as an individual and also her relationship with Charlie. I have one issue with Emma and how she’s portrayed, which I’ll address in the cons section.

We never actually get to see Darcy and I’m okay with that, because she sounds like a terrible person. That said, I’m curious whether we might actually see a book with her in the future. Could Darcy Wells be redeemable and have hidden depths? I’d love to know!

The Writing Style

Flavor of the Month is paced well, I enjoyed the smalltown setting, and the story worked beautifully for me. I was so afraid I knew what the crisis was going to be and I was completely wrong! I love it when my predictions are wrong, because it means that an author has managed to keep me on my toes, so extra props for this one.

The Narration

If you’re familiar with my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Lori Prince, and particularly of when Lori Prince narrates a Georgia Beers book. Flavor of the Month was no exception. I found ways to sneak in extra listening time while I was doing my daily stretches, cooking, and maybe even went for an extra neighbourhood walk or two just so I could spend more time with this one.

The Pros

I liked pretty much everything! The characters are excellent and I want to be friends with them, the setting is lovely and I want to eat pie there, and the happily ever after is totally satisfying.

The Cons

I have one big problem with this book and it’s how Emma’s race is portrayed. Almost 60% of the way in, it talks about a photo of Emma and her family. Her mom is white, her dad is black, and Emma is light-skinned. I literally had no clue that Emma is biracial and I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for that mention because it doesn’t come up anywhere else in the book.

As a biracial woman in an almost exclusively white state, Emma would regularly deal with racism. At the very least, she would have white people watching her, telling her how exotic she looks, asking invasive questions like “so, where are you from?”, or following her around in stores. As it is, it reads very much like she’s white, so just know that going into it.

taras favourite lesbian booksThe Conclusion

Flavor of the Month hits all the right notes for a second chance romance. If you like those, smalltown settings, or pie, you’ll want to check it out. If you’re a Georgia Beers fan, you’re sure to love it. And if you haven’t read anything by her before, this would be an excellent place to start.

Excerpt from Flavor of the Month by Georgia Beers

The panic was instant. Charlie’s heart began to pound. Sweat beaded on her upper lip, palms dampened. She hadn’t seen Emma in more than five years. She hadn’t talked to her in more than three, and that’s because the last time Emma called, she didn’t answer. No, that was a lie. The last seven times Emma called, she didn’t answer.

Twenty-three-year-olds were stupid. And selfish. Those were facts.

Looking around frantically, trying to decide if it would be considered rude if she simply fled, ran out of EG’s and never returned, she was stopped by that voice.

“Well, would you look at that? It is you. Huh.”

A hard, hard swallow, a slow turn of her head, and Charlie faced her. Emma Grier. Her first love. The person who used to know her better than anybody in the world. Who probably still did.

“I was sure my mother was mistaken, just saw someone who looked a little bit like you, but…” Her dark eyes raked over Charlie, quickly and not kindly. “Nope. It’s really you.”

“It’s really me.” Charlie’s voice was a croak. Croaks were so impressive. God, she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her whole. With yet another clearing of her throat, she held her arms out to the sides, presenting herself. Let them drop. “Hey, Emma.”

How unfair was life when five years went by and Emma looked like that? Stunning. Head-turning. She always had been. She could stop Charlie in her tracks just by looking like herself. In that moment, she realized Emma still could. Trailing off midsentence was something Charlie had perfected. Happened every time Emma walked into the room. And right then? Charlie realized she still possessed that power.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1635556162
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
Narrator: Lori Prince
Georgia Beers Online

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Reviewer at The Lesbian Review
Tara Scott lives in Calgary, Canada with her family. If you don't find her with her Kindle in her hand, she's probably busy talking about what she's currently reading.