I loved this book so much. So many couples go through exactly what Paula and Nick do: they have their own goals and passions and giving it up for a chance to be with someone they love is risky. Perhaps the timing hasn't been right before, perhaps they each have been working for something and aren't sure if the other person is ready to commit, or perhaps the couple has been on and off. There are so many times I hear about something like this, and I thought Debby Mayne did a wonderful job capturing what is a real-life situation for many couples.
The characters are really lovely. I so enjoyed coming back to this book every day and seeing what was going to happen. Paula runs a soap and candle store, and the descriptions of her business made me smelling those candles every time I cracked open the book. I liked the backdrop of Tarpon Springs, Florida, and could picture the sights of the town and just about smell the ocean air from the descriptions of the restaurants and shops.
I especially loved the Papadopoulos family with their generosity and endless supply of food! In fact, if you aren't hungry by the time you finish Sweet Baklava, you will be when you see the small collection of recipes at the end.
I could so relate to Paula, who loves Nick but isn't sure if she can give up her business and the stability that Tarpon Springs has provided. I also found her a wonderful example of what God's grace can do. This was the first Debby Mayne novel I read, and would recommend it. (I'm also going to pick up a few more from her.)
Debby Mayne knows how to write a great story! The book takes place in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a large Greek community. I immediately felt as though I was there, along side the sponge docks, eating baklava. Many local places are mentioned in the book, giving it a warm and sunny feel for the Florida location.
The characters Paula Andrews and Nick Papadopoulos have a history. The two meet again in this love story, with plenty of help from Nick's very large, very involved Greek family. Through trials and time spent together, the two begin to form a stronger bond than ever before. I like the fact that Mayne creates real problems for them and doesn't make it easy. Real life isn't easy, and because her characters have to work through genuine problems, they come off the page. I even caught myself praying for them on a couple of occasions!
A young teenager, an irresponsible mom, and a cast of other characters rounds out the book. I felt as though I sat at the big Greek table and ate alongside some of the characters. Great writing, great story, great book!
Debby Mayne is such a talented writer and has an amazing way of bringing her characters to life. Once I picked up this book, it was impossible to put it down. I was swept up in the wonderful and tender romance from the first page until the last.
Paula Andrews and Nick Papadopoulos were high school sweethearts in love. But Nick grew restless and didn't want to follow in his family's footsteps of working in the sponge diving or restaurant businesses in the Greek community in Tarpon Springs, Florida. So, he decides to enlist in the Air Force.
Now years later Paula and Nick both feels they are right where they want to be in their lives. Nick is happy in the military, and Paula owns her own candle and soap business, which is growing by leaps and bounds, but they're both missing one thing...true love.
When Nick returns home on leave the moment he sees Paula, those old feelings surface again and he realizes he's still in love with her. Nick battles with the decision of re-enlisting or staying in Tarpon Springs, to start a life with Paula. Even though she wants him to stay she knows how much he loves the military and she fears if he stays he will eventually rent her.
But with the help and preseverance of some meddling , but loving Papadolpoulos women, and the undying love Nick and Paula has for one another...in the end, Love finds a way!
**As an extra bonus, several of the mouth-watering Greek recipes that were in the story, are listed in the back of the book.**