Please help us welcome Serena Bell to Book Binge this morning!
Holly, thank you so much for having me here today! It’s a pleasure to visit Book Binge as part of my Yours to Keep Thanksgiving tour!
I didn’t write Yours to Keep as a holiday book—it’s the story, after all, of an undocumented immigrant and her struggles to find love without revealing the truth about her shadow life—but it turned out to be chock-full of holiday celebrations and joy. A troubled Thanksgiving Day that brings two families back together. A Christmas celebration that reveals how small acts of kindness can repair rifts.
And food. Lots and lots of food—from cheese platters to chivo picante—to pumpkin pie, like in this scene where the hero is preparing for that fraught Thanksgiving meal:
Ethan used canned pumpkin and frozen crust to whip up a pumpkin pie. …
It was therapeutic, scraping pumpkin out of a can with a rubber spatula. It was the first time he’d felt semi-human in days. Not good—nowhere near good—but functional, at least. In a rhythm.
In a few hours James and his parents would be here, fighting with one another, griping about the food, and embarrassing Theo.
He broke the eggs and began whisking the pumpkin and the eggs and evaporated milk to a uniform texture and color.
In my family, we argued every year about which brand of canned pumpkin made the best pie—One Pie, or Libby’s. It was one of those endless, irresolvable debates. One of those weird comforting fights that, in a contradictory way, is not about differences but about similarities.
Food, in Yours to Keep, is what brings people—across cultures—together. It’s territory where people—even people who don’t agree on much—can find common ground. It’s a pointer to what matters to you—family, history, belonging, togetherness.
At some point, my mom began buying the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from a local orchard.
I miss the rituals. Yeah, it was a pain—trying to get those last clumps out of the can, wrestling open the condensed milk, and whisking an over-full bowl of custard that stubbornly wouldn’t blend. But I loved it anyway.
Most of all, I miss fighting over which brand made better pumpkin pie, because while we were fighting over something that didn’t matter in the slightest, we knew what did matter. We were there, together, as a family.
Please join the conversation in the comments by telling us about pumpkin pie in your household. Canned pumpkin, and if so, what brand? Fresh pumpkin? Orchard/store/bakery-bought? And—this might be the most important question of all—room temperature? Or cold? Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win books and/or a gift card, too!
Serena Bell makes her Loveswept debut with the captivating story of a woman living on the edge—and the man who’s destined to love her.
Ana Travares has been looking over her shoulder her whole life. Her U.S. visa expired when she was a young girl, and if her secret is discovered, she’ll be forced to return to the Dominican Republic. Ana allowed herself to get close to someone once before—and after he broke her heart, she swore never to make the same mistake again. But when a handsome doctor asks for her assistance, she fantasizes about breaking all her rules.
Even though pediatrician Ethan Hansen is a natural when it comes to little kids, as the single father of a teenage son he just can’t seem to get it right . . . except for the Spanish tutor he’s hired for his son, Theo. Ana has managed to crack Theo’s shell—and he isn’t the only one taken with her. The sexy tutor has fired up Ethan with a potent mix of lust and protectiveness. But as he starts to envision a future with Ana, Ethan is devastated to learn the truth about her citizenship. Somehow he’s got to find a way to help her—and hold on to the woman he’s falling hopelessly in love with.
Praise for Yours to Keep:
“A touching, emotional, realistic, and sexy contemporary romance with a thought-provoking them. [There’s a] hero to die for and a heroine you want to hang out with. What could be better than that?”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Theresa Weir (aka Anne Frasier)
“Sexy, emotionally rich, and heartbreakingly lovely.”—Ruthie Knox, USA Today bestselling author of Roman Holiday
Please visit the other great sites on my tour and join me in celebrating Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holiday season!
Enter below to win books and/or a $20 etailer gift card! Rafflecopter giveaway ends December 1, 11:59 p.m.
Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people do stupid things sometimes, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two.
For a while, Serena took a break from penning love stories to explore the world as a journalist, where she spent time shadowing and writing about a cast of fascinating real-life characters.
When she’s not writing or getting her butt kicked at Scrabble by her kids, she’s practicing modern-dance improv in the kitchen, swimming laps, taking a long walk, or reading on one of her large collection of electronic devices.