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Mary Jane Hathaway’s: The Pepper in the Gumboy

Alice Augustine runs the oldest bookstore in the historic district of Natchitoches and believes technology is the root of most problems. If only more people would turn off the Tv and shut down the computer, the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in. She wishes she could get the teens she loves to step away from the screens and hold on to their Creole culture. The only person who seems to understand her passion for classic literature is the mysterious website owner, Browning Wordsworth Keats.

Paul Olivier comes back to his home town determined to show the people of Cane River that he’s not the poor, nerdy kid he once was. He’s made a fortune designing video games and opening a giant electronics store right in the snooty historic district will be the crowning glory of his career. Unfortunately, one bookish anti-tech fanatic has decided to do everything she can to keep that from happening. Even worse, she doesn’t know that in cyber space, they’re kindred spirits.

Alice and Paul clash from the start, but nothing is ever quite as it seems. When secrets are revealed, will there be a second chance- for both of them?
A romance that brings the humor of You’ve Got Mail and the deep friendships of 84, Charring Cross Road, this romance will touch the classic literature lover in everyone.


I’m a big fan of Mary Jane Hathaway’s Jane Austen series and then I saw she had re-done You’ve Got Mail (or The Shop Around the Corner or any other rendition on this story) and I knew I had to read it. My thoughts:

What I liked:

It definitely had that You’ve Got Mail feel with two people constantly exchanging emails and developing a friendship that knows no bounds. However, it’s a little different because Paul (it’s always the guy!) knew who Alice was from just about the beginning. And I found that I liked this because it made the romance even more believable.

Hilarious. This book had some funny moments. I kid you not.

Alice and Paul. I loved that they had such distinct personalities. They both had a love for books but that love completely manifested in different ways. Romantically, they were a very good match, being strong where the other was weak and just plain “getting” each other. It was so much fun watching them come together (if a bit tense at moments).

Spiritually, Alice and Paul both go to church and occasionally pray. This wasn’t a novel with a theme so much as two Christian people living.

What I didn’t like

First off, Paul was a fantastic hero. But when you make a fantastic hero, we often make annoying heroines. Alice had her moments. Many times I wanted to tell her to get over herself.

Also, Paul and Alice as book lovers often turned to quotes in books and poetry to motivate themselves and sometimes I wanted to say really? You want to take that person’s advice and we all know that person was crazy! What I never got, was why they didn’t quote and live by the Bible. That would have made more sense, except then they wouldn’t have bonded over Browning, Pope, Whitman etc., as much. A bit of a catch 22 I guess.

Romantic Scale: 8.8

Overall, very enjoyable. Laugh out loud funny. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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