What an enjoyable read! The Mandolin Lunch by Missouri Vaun is a gentle and comforting story. It is one of those easy to read tales that makes you feel good.
The setting is an almost idyllic small town right on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and tells the story of how Garet Allen and Tess Hill meet. Garet, who is a children’s book illustrator, is hired to be a substitute art teacher to grades one through twelve in a small rural school for three months while the regular teacher is on maternity leave. The school is so small she has to share her classroom with Tess who is the music teacher there. The two are attracted to each other, but Tess has reservations. She is afraid that Garet will leave as soon as her job is over, taking Tess’s heart with her. She also has to consider her young daughter June, and how she could be affected if she becomes attached to Garet only to see her leave.
This is a lovely slow-burn romance with a gorgeous setting and captivating characters. One of the traits I love most about Ms. Vaun’s stories is the way she writes descriptions. Maybe it’s because she has been an illustrator in real life as Garet is in this novel. I often find myself stopping to reread passages because they describe something so beautifully. This is definitely the author’s special gift.
I suggest that you find your favorite blanket and take it to your most comfortable chair. Grab a big mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows of course) and turn on some soft music…maybe instrumental string music. This would be the perfect setting to read this romantic story.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.