Thirty year old Isabel Johansen is a talented chef who had to suddenly leave culinary school under traumatic circumstances. She returned to her beloved home in Archangel to transform the family estate of a beautiful hacienda, apple orchards, gardens, and beehives to a destination cooking school. It’s a huge undertaking, especially since she is also planning her half-sister Tess’s wedding. But a stranger shows up, and Isabel’s carefully ordered plans are put into jeopardy.
Cormac O’Neill is an award winning, world famous journalist. Unbeknown by Isabel, he’s on his way to Bella Vista to meet Isabel’s grandfather, Magnus, to help write Magnus’ life story – a powerful, moving story of the Danish Resistance during World War II, the two women who shared his life, and the friend who helped him go to America and build his apple orchards.
Ms. Wiggs beautifully weaves the two plot lines – Magnus’s prior life, and the present day struggles of Isabel trying to build her cooking school, plan her sister’s wedding and overcome a painful episode that forced her to quit culinary school. A sweet and understated romance blooms between Isabel and Cormac as they both learn to overcome their painful pasts.
Once again, Ms. Wiggs has written a visually appealing, moving story about love, lost, forgiveness and family. Her incredible descriptions bring you right into the middle of World War II and smoothly transition to the lush, fragrant hills of present day California. This book ends with the promise of an exciting story regarding Isabel and Tess’ father’s untimely death in the next installment of Bella Vista.