Small Town, Big Heart
Magpie's Bend by Maya Linnell
When Lara McIntyre begins a campaign to save the town's general store, she doesn't expect to juggling it with the fear of losing her daughter to her ex's parents, caring for a cranky magpie - or the burgeoning attraction she feels for Toby Paxton, the one-man team running the local paper. But Lara no longer trusts her judgement in men - how can she tell if he is any different from her ex?
What I love about Linnell's books is how easily she captures the atmosphere of a country town and the way of life to be found there. Magpie's Bend is no different and I quite enjoyed Lara's story - and I found myself smiling whenever Toby's odd socks were mentioned. It was also good to see the issue of consent raised, not just as part of Lara's past but the present too. This book is a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
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Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.