Guest blog by Mia March, author of Finding Colin Firth
After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.
These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings.
Only an idiot would attempt to make a pie—a special-ordered chocolate caramel cream Amore Pie—while watching Pride and Prejudice. Had she put in the vanilla? What about the salt?
Damn Colin Firth and his pond-soaked white shirt. Veronica set down her measuring spoons on the flour-dusted counter and gave her full attention to the small TV next to the coffeemaker.
God, she loved Colin Firth. Not just because he was so handsome either. This TV miniseries was at least fifteen years old, and Colin Firth had to be fifty now. He was still gorgeous. But it was more than that. Colin Firth was six feet two inches of hope. To Veronica, he represented what she’d been looking for her entire life and had never found and probably never would, at this point. Veronica was thirty-eight years old. Still not married.
If you wanted love, really wanted love, you’d have it, friends, even boyfriends, had said many times over the years. There’s something wrong with you, her last beau had said before he’d stormed out on her for not agreeing to marry him. Something wrong with the way your heart works.
Maybe there was. No, Veronica knew it was true. And she knew why too. But now, at thirty-eight, friends were worrying about her ending up all alone, so she’d started saying what felt lighthearted but true at the same time, that she was holding out for a man who felt like Colin Firth to her. Her friend Shelley from the diner had known exactly what she meant. “I realize he’s an actor playing roles, but I get it,” Shelley had said. “Honest. Full of integrity. Conviction. Brimming with intelligence. Loyal. You just believe everything he says with that British accent of his—and can trust it.”
All that and yes, he was so damned handsome that Veronica had lost track of her own Amore Pie, a pie she could make in her sleep. Her special elixir pies were in high demand ever since she’d been back in Boothbay Harbor—just over a year now. She’d grown up in Boothbay, but had bought a house in a different neighborhood than the one she’d lived in with her parents. It had been love at first sight for the lemon-yellow bungalow on Sea Road, and the day she’d moved in, while hanging the wooden blinds on her sliding glass door to her deck, she’d heard someone crying. She’d peered her head out the door to see her neighbor sitting on her back porch, wearing only a black negligee
and black leather stilettos. Veronica had gone over and asked if she could help, and the woman blurted out that her marriage was over. Veronica had sat down, and within moments her neighbor, whose name was Frieda, shared the whole story, how she’d tried to entice her husband, who barely looked at her these days, home for lunch with exactly what she was going to do to him. But he’d said he’d brought last night’s leftovers and would just have that.
“He’d rather have a cold meat loaf sandwich than me?” Frieda had cried to Veronica. “For months, I’ve been trying to entice him back to me, and nothing works.” She broke down in a fresh round of tears.
Veronica had told Frieda that she was a baker and would make her a special pie to serve her husband for dessert that night. When she gave him his slice, she was to think about how much she loved him, wanted him. And just for good measure, she could run her hands up the back of his neck.
Well, that night, Frederick Mulverson had said he didn’t know what came over him, but he was back. Frieda had Veronica’s Amore Pie on standing order every Friday. One word to her friends and relatives, and Veronica’s phone had started ringing with orders, just as it had in New Mexico. Amore Pies were her most requested.
She made upwards of twenty special pies a week. Plus two a day for the Best Little Diner in Boothbay, where she worked as a waitress. And nine pies a week for three local inns. But those— for the diner and the inns—were just her Happiness Pies, pies that tasted like summer vacation. She saved her special elixir pies for her clients around town, everything from Feel Better Pie, which came in all kinds of dietetic-friendly varieties, such as gluten free, dairy free, and even sugar free, to Confidence Pie, which involved Key limes.
What she couldn’t seem to do was make a Colin Firth Pie for herself. She’d made Amore Pies for hundreds of clients that seemed to attract love to them. Sure, maybe it was mostly power of thought, but so what, since it worked. You get what you believe is what Veronica’s grandmother used to say. At the thought of dear Renata Russo, who’d died just months before all the trouble had started when Veronica was sixteen, Veronica closed her eyes. She let herself remember what it was like when she’d had a family, when Veronica, her parents, and her grandmother would sit around the table in the house Veronica grew up in—just several miles away from here—and have big Italian dinners. Meatballs and so much linguini in her grandmother’s homemade tomato sauce that it seemed to come from bottomless pots.
She missed those days, days that had ended on an April morning when Veronica was sixteen and blurted out over a pancake breakfast that she was pregnant. One minute, she’d had a family—minus her beloved grandmother. The next, Veronica had been sent away.
Why are you upsetting yourself by thinking about all that? she asked herself as she turned her attention back to the TV and the Bennet sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, conspiring in their lovely white dresses about their love lives. But since she’d moved back to Boothbay Harbor, her past was all she could think about. It was why she’d come home, for heaven’s sake. To face it. To stop . . . running.