May 21, 2024


Tarah DeWitt

St. Martin's Press


Fiction / Romance

Paperback, 336 pages

"DeWitt’s sprightly narrative is by turns funny and red-hot, as Sage and Fisher, who share a love of puns, develop some serious chemistry... This is a charmer."

-Publishers Weekly

Sage Byrd has lived in the coastal town of Spunes, Oregon her entire life. She's learned to love her small world, with the misfit animals on her hobby farm, and her friendships with the town’s inhabitants. But when her 5-year relationship ends and her ex, town-golden-boy Ian, suddenly gets engaged, Sage needs a win—something that will convince everyone to stop pitying her all the time and to put Ian in his place. The Festival of Spunes, the town’s annual summer competition, would be the perfect opportunity. She just needs a partner.

Fisher Lange was a hotshot chef in New York City until the loss of his sister left him numb, grieving, and responsible for his teenage niece Indy. When Fisher loses his Michelin star along with his love of cooking, his boss sends him and Indy to Spunes on a much-needed summer sabbatical to consult on a restaurant opening. But when clashes with the townspeople threaten his last chance to redeem himself and a kiss with his new neighbor Sage leads to dating rumors, a strategic alliance might just be the best way to turn things around.

A deal is struck. Sage will improve Fisher’s image in the eyes of the town and remove the roadblocks he is facing with the restaurant, and Fisher will be Sage’s partner in the competition. But as their pact quickly turns into a steamy rendezvous, emotional wounds begin to heal, and the pair tries to savor every moment, they start to realize that summer is racing by much faster than they would like.

Dear Reader, 

I think this surge in the collective love we have for small-town romance could come with its own branding: Quiet Escapism. Maybe it’s a reverberation caused by the pandemic, or perhaps it’s less specific than that, but it feels as if we all yearn to slow down in a world that’s constantly telling us to strive for more, to do it quicker, or to do it bigger.

Approaching a small-town story was something I could not get myself to take lightly. I remembered what it was like to move to a small town and to experience the less-than-cute side effects, the not-so-charming rumor mill. How would I write from an authentic place without addressing some of those truths? How could I blend some of the very real-life hardships people face against the backdrop of a lovely town you’d want to return to, without glossing over everything or letting it feel too kitschy?

This was how Fisher and Sage started to form in my mind and solidify in my heart—by unearthing and replanting the pieces of my own. From there, this story bloomed. This book took twice as long as any of my previous works because I was hard on myself at every step. But just like Fisher and Sage, once I learned to savor it and to be proud of where I was, it came together, too.

I’ve known many a Fisher and Sage in my life—I’ve been with them both at different phases, too. They’re perpetually hopeful even when they’re hurting. Striving for connection even when they feel unlovable. The side characters and found family in this story are some of my most cherished to date.

I know we are never supposed to pick favorites, but I’d be lying if I said these two weren’t extra special to me, or that the themes in this—being present, being open, and brave enough to change—aren’t dear to my heart. I hope you love them, too. 

Happy Reading,


Book Club Menu

Marionberry Sour: Oregonians love their craft beer, and marionberries play a special role in Savor It. 

Carrot Jalapeño Soup: Like Fisher and Sage, an unexpected pairing that goes surprisingly well together. Sweet, deep flavors, and a hint of spice. It's a soup that's fulfilling and great year-round. 

Fish Tacos: With Spunes on the rocky Oregon coast, I imagine a hearty beer-battered fish taco, with all the fixings you prefer. But, any kind will do! The people of Spunes asked for a Taco Tuesday on the Starhopper menu, so no doubt Chef Lange delivers. 

Stroopwafel: Polish off the meal with a crunchy, gooey Stroopwafel in honor of Fisher's Dutch roots.

Tarah DeWitt


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