First Course by Jenn Bouchard
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Paperback, 210 pages
Published June 21st 2021 by TouchPoint Press
Taken from Goodreads: Set in Maine, First Course is a story about family and relationships, amazing food, and life's second acts.
When four life-altering catastrophes hit in just one day—including the loss of her parents in a tragic plane crash—twenty-four-year-old Janie Whitman retreats to her family’s summer house in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Here she tries to provide stability for her older sister Alyssa and two young nieces by cooking them amazing food.
Through a mix-up with the alumni office at her parents’ alma mater, Janie meets a young high school guidance counselor named Rocky at a volunteer event, and their fast-tracked romance helps Janie to see possibilities beyond the life she had known just a few weeks prior. But with her ex-boyfriend (and former boss) making overtures beyond her wildest dreams, as well as Alyssa’s estranged husband willing to do whatever it takes to win her back, the Whitman sisters are faced with big decisions.
Despite the obstacles in their way, when Janie and Alyssa are tasked with establishing a lasting memorial for their parents, they just might find the second acts they are seeking.
My Thoughts: I started this book looking for a light and fun book. That is exactly what I got. There are some tough subjects; cheating, loss of job, death of parents but Jenn Bouchard did a great job of not making light of these while not bringing the entire tone of the book down. These tough subjects are what bring Alyssa and Janie back together as sisters. Through tough times they find a relationship that they probably never had and find a new future that brings everyone happiness.
There were so many unique characters that I found myself looking forward to seeing the secondary characters just as much as the primary. Meredith made me cringe and laugh; I recommend not eating any of her dishes. Rocky made my heart soar with his understanding and support. Alyssa’s daughters were so true to their age that I loved reading the scenes with them in them causing the chaos that comes with having little girls.
First Course is a story of starting over, mending relationships, finding your second acts. Jenn Bouchard wrote a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to reading more of her future books.
**I won a copy of First Course from a Giveaway on Chick Lit Central. All opinions are my own.
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Meet Jenn Bouchard (Taken from her website): After moving eight times before college, Jenn was happy to land in Maine. At Bates College, she helped run large concerts and campus-wide events, survived the ice storm of 1998, met her future husband, and graduated with a degree in Political Science. From there she moved to Boston, where she fell in love with the Red Sox and earned a master's degree and teaching certification from Tufts University. After a twelve year stint in Chicago, she and her family moved back to Boston, got season tickets to Fenway, and Jenn began working on FIRST COURSE, her debut novel. She has been a high school social studies teacher for 22 years, and she is a regular presenter at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference. In her spare time, Jenn volunteers as both a fundraiser and secretary for her Bates College class and is a past president of the alumni association. She is a member of Grub Street, Women Fiction Writers' Association, and Women in Development of Greater Boston. She is an avid cook and is always planning her next adventure. FIRST COURSE was published in 2021 by TouchPoint Press. You will find her short stories in The Bookends Review, Litbreak Magazine, The Penmen Review, and the Little Patuxent Review. She is currently editing her second novel, titled PALMS ON THE CAPE.