Today’s recommendation is for Allie Pleiter’s The Perfect Blend.
Maggie Black has a dream. Her dream is to own a Christian coffee house in Seattle, a city filled with coffee houses. There’s only one thing that stands in her way. Correction, there’s only one man who stands in her way. That man is William Grey, her loan officer. When her loan for her fabulous coffeehouse is denied she goes to Grey, desperate for him to reconsider, and she’s told that if she takes the class that he teaches about small business management, he may reconsider her loan. It’s only twelve weeks, three months of her life, so she agrees. Little did she know how much her life would change in those months. Twelve weeks, a rugby accident and a new job later Maggie finds herself falling in love with Will, but what will that mean for her loan?
I’m not really able to put a finger on what I like so much about this novel. It’s told in the first person, present tense, which is something that usually drives me crazy, but for some reason it felt just right for this novel. The characters were well thought out and incredibly realistic, especially Maggie, the narrator. The situations in which they found themselves were also realistic and quite funny. Everything about this novel seemed incredibly genuine and natural.
The writing in the book is an excellent example of Christian Chick Lit. The following scene takes place in the middle of the book, when Maggie’s best friend Diane is in disguise, coming to check out Nate, Maggie’s new coworker.
4:06 p.m., the door swings open. It’s Diane. She’s put on what I secretly know to be her “extra cute” outfit. She’s carrying two shopping bags, but if I know Diane they’re just stuffed with empty boxes for effect. […]
Right now, right now she’s playing the part to the hilt. It’s killing me to keep a straight face. I feel a giggle coming on, so I purposely spill a handful of coffee beans of the floor. It gives me a chance to look down and forces Nate to pull her drink.
“What’ll it be?” Nate has his smooth voice on. I turn away and roll my eyes.
“Tall hazelnut latte please. Skim milk.”
Here it comes. I cough, just to keep the laughs at bay.
“You want whipped cream on that?”
“Ooo,” Diane coos, “maybe just a smidge.”
You know, there are days when I love this job. I keep my head down, because my face is contorted from suppressing a laugh. I hear the steam go, hear the milk pour and see him reach down into the fridge for the whipped cream canister. Ten, nine, eight, seven…
“Whoa!” From my hiding spot under the counter I hear the sound of rampant dairy product. “That’s a bit more than you asked for. I could pull another drink for you, if you want…” That man’s voice hints at everything when he says it like that.
“Oh, no, that’s okay.” (182, 3)
This book is a Steeple Hill Café book from 2007, and it’s likely that you’re not going to be able to find it in most bookstores, and possibly not in many libraries. However, you’re very likely to find it on Paperback Swap. Just click on the banner below to get started with this great website (and if you don’t know what it is, check back to my entry on June 16, 2009 to find out a little bit more).
Pleiter, Allie. The Perfect Blend. New York: Steeple Hill Books, 2007. Pp. 182-3.