Iris Alden & Carter Blackwood couldn’t be more different.
Recently divorced, newly-employed, cookie-baking, PTA super mom Iris likes her life neat & organized, while house-flipping Carter’s itchy feet means he never stays in the same place for very long.
When Carter purchases the home across from Iris to renovate it for a quick sell, he has no intention of putting down roots. He certainly doesn’t plan on getting involved with the local community, let alone the town committee mom.
But life doesn’t always coincide with what we think we want.
When an unexpected family crisis pulling Carter back to the city, & Iris’ ex-husband doing his best to sabotage anything resembling a new life for her & their teenaged daughter, Iris & Carter soon find, love isn’t always sweet.
The title of Jo Richardson’s book, Cookie Cutter, is a double entendre referring to both main characters in the adorable contemporary romance. This second-chance at love is packed with fantastic characters, great messages and the sadly humorous suburban neighborhood politics.
Although Iris Alden has booted her philandering ex-husband from the house, she can’t completely rid her life of him. Their daughter, Ally, would like a dad in her life. Actually, she’d like two parents under the same roof, and an involved, outwardly caring dad. Iris wishes for that as well, but she knows it isn’t going to happen, so she keeps herself busy to avoid thinking about it. Busy is an understatement. In addition to working full time, she volunteers to run just about every community and school event and she bakes all the cookies for her daughter’s teams and clubs. Whether she is working that hard to avoid thinking about her failed marriage or to live up to some “supermom” expectations, Iris is the quintessential single parent. Her daily struggles—getting a teen out of bed in the morning, balancing a close relationship with a teen’s desire for more independence—are relatable to all parents. The perpetual high-stress of her daily life makes Iris look like a neurotic mess to her new neighbor, Carter Blackwood.
For all intents and purposes, Carter is the antithesis of Iris. He is calm, accepting, and takes life as it comes. No mile-long mental lists of things to get done everyday. No real concern for what others say or think of him. He is a good guy with strong morals, and he doesn’t feel the need to impress anyone or correct their misperceptions of him. All that plus his stunning good looks and impressive biceps, makes him not only eye candy but quite likable.
The bevy of secondary characters truly takes this book up a notch from the typical contemporary romance. Paul, Alex, Meg, and even Cheryl each add something to the story and the background of the main characters. They’re alternatively quirky, unique, and expected. These rich secondary characters are also the basis for adding in some poignant messages about duplicity, sanctimony, expectations and prejudice.
Ms. Richardson deftly grows Iris and Carter’s relationship from stranger, to annoying neighbor, to friends and then lovers. I loved the catalyst for each relationship transition was a realistic event. The growth in their relationship felt organic. No contrived drama that is resolved by a billionaire whisking away the damsel in distress. Cookie Cutter is a well-paced, delightful story.
A movie fanatic, a writer of stories, a lover of life.
I grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity – but it was too cold up North for this thin blooded girl. Today, I live in Florida with my two girls and a husband who shares my same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.
Life is too short to put dreams on the back burner.
I write both contemporary and paranormal stories that include mystery, suspense, humor, action, romance, and anything else I can think up.