How Sweet It is

How Sweet It is

by Sophie Gunn

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How Sweet It is by Sophie Gunn

"HOW SWEET IT IS will set your heart on fire"
-Robyn Carr, New York Times bestselling author

"One sweet read! Everything I love best: humor, warmth, emotions that pull at the heartstrings, characters that step off the page, and a wonderful love story."
— Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author


Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"—high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!

Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance—no strings attached.

Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446561990
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sophie Gunn grew up in suburban Philadelphia, but raced to New York City as soon as she got the chance. After four years at Columbia University, she worked at several of Manhattan's top advertising agencies as a copywriter, penning ads for Pepsi, BMW, Sony, and other major brands. When her husband got a job in a tiny town in upstate New York, she knew her ad career was over. So she opened a computer file and typed, "Chapter One." Now, she's back in Philadelphia, six blocks from where she grew up, with her two cats, two kids, and one husband, writing what she loves and wondering why she ever left.

You can learn more at:


Twitter, @sophegunn.

Read an Excerpt

How Sweet It is

By Gunn, Sophie


Copyright © 2011 Gunn, Sophie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446561990


For over a week the envelope sat on the dining room table unnoticed, buried under a stack of birdseed catalogues and household bills like a bomb waiting to go off.

Life went on around it. Work, grocery shopping, and housework for Lizzie Bea Carpenter. School, babysitting, and friends for her fourteen-year-old daughter, Paige.

Tick tick tick.

Normal life. A good life. Maybe not great, but fine. Galton, New York, centrally isolated, the locals liked to say, wasn’t exactly the kind of town where momentous things happened.

Until Saturday, September 8, 8:22 in the evening, when Lizzie’s world turned upside down.

“Who do we know in Geneva?” Paige asked, coming into the kitchen, holding up an envelope covered in foreign stamps. It had been Paige’s turn to clean the dining room after dinner. She’d swept the crumbs under the threadbare Turkish rug, pushed around the ragtag assortment of antique chairs until they looked more or less orderly, and tossed most of the pile of mail, including an ominous-looking letter from her middle school, into the overflowing recycling bin with a quick, guilty second glance.

Lizzie turned off the faucet, put down the mac-and-cheese pan she was scrubbing in the sink, saw the handwriting, and said, “Ratbastard.” She backtracked quickly, her throat constricting. “I mean, Geneva? Ha! No one. Let me see that.” She grabbed for the letter, but Paige was too quick. Lizzie’s heart was pounding. Her throat was dry with dread.

“Who?” Paige tore the letter open while dodging around the counter.

“Don’t,” Lizzie said, but the word came out listlessly because she knew it was too late. Everything was about to change, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

“It’s addressed to both of us,” Paige said, unfolding the single sheet.

Lizzie didn’t know that she knew anyone in all of Europe, much less Geneva, but apparently she did, because she recognized that handwriting at a glance, even after fourteen years. Her traitorous body knew it, too, and was responding as if it were still sixteen and stupid. This couldn’t be happening. Oh, Paige…

Paige read the letter. She stopped, frozen, on the other side of the counter. “Oh. I see,” she said, letting the letter fall to the counter. “Ratbastard.” She said it as if it were an ordinary name like Steve or Joe.

Lizzie wiped her hands on the dishrag, trying to look like a mother in control. “Well. He could have changed,” she said as carefully as she could. “We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions.”

“He wants to come here, Mom.”

Lizzie cleared her throat. “That’s lovely,” she managed to get out.

“On Christmas Day.”

“Ratbastard! Sorry. Lovely. Hell.” Nice work. Lizzie needed a few minutes to pull herself together. She needed to sit and to breathe and definitely not to cry. She wanted to hit something but she couldn’t. Not now, in front of Paige. At least, not anything that would break. Not that there was much left to break in their kitchen, which was clean, but failing. Two burners were dead on the stove. The icemaker had quit eleven months ago. The radio worked when you banged it. Hard. Couldn’t do much damage in here, even if she tried.

But that letter had done damage.

Paige looked as if she’d already been pummeled. Her face was blank and pale. Her new black, chin-length Cleopatra haircut made her face seem rounder and her brown eyes even huger than usual. She looked like an eight-year-old and an eighteen-year-old simultaneously, a special effect in a bad after-school movie about girls growing up too fast.

Lizzie picked up the letter. She imagined Ratbastard walking into a store and asking for the stationery that screamed I’m rich and arrogant the loudest. The cream-colored paper was heavy and stamped with a fancy watermark. The handwriting was neat, the tone straightforward. He spelled realize like a Brit, even though he had been born and bred in Michigan—I realise this is out of the blue. But I’d like to meet my daughter. I’ll be in the States over the holidays, and will stop by then. Twelve o’clock Christmas day? I hope she’ll be willing to see me. There was no return address, no phone number, no e-mail contact, nothing but a breezy signature—Ethan Pond. Then, in parentheses, Dad.

Lizzie excused herself, climbed the stairs, turned on the water in the bathroom sink to muffle the noise, and threw up.

Ethan Pond, Paige’s father, the boy who’d changed Lizzie’s life forever in the back of his Lexus during her senior year of high school, was coming back.

This was a matter for the Enemy Club.


Excerpted from How Sweet It is by Gunn, Sophie Copyright © 2011 by Gunn, Sophie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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How Sweet It Is 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
BookAddictPatti More than 1 year ago
Lizzie Carpenter's just gotten a letter from Ethan, the father of her 14-year-old daughter - the man she hasn't heard from in 15 years. He's decided it's time for him to meet his daughter, and he wants to come on Christmas Day. Lizzie doesn't know what to do; on one hand, Paige should meet her father. On the other hand, does he deserve to meet Paige after so much time has passed? So she takes the letter to work with her and discusses the situation with her "Enemy Club" - Lizzie and three other women who hated each other in high school and are now.friends who tell each other the truth - always. Paige is delighted that her father is coming. The letter is postmarked from Geneva, so she's sure he'll take her back with him so she can work on her snowboarding there. She wants to be a professional snowboarder, and is dreaming that he's come to take her away from the small town of Galton. Lizzie is stuck trying to be supportive of the fact that he's coming, while trying not to get Paige's expectations up. Paige accuses her of trying to keep Ethan from being interested in Paige by living in a shabby house. Lizzie knows she's let things go, but doesn't know how to fix it all. Tay Giovanni is in the diner when he overhears Lizzie's wish for a man to help fix up the house. Tay is passing through town on his own mission: A year ago, he accidentally hit and killed a woman in an automobile accident. Although it was declared an accident and he was not punished, he can't get over it. He sold his possessions and tries to do good works. His final act of kindness is to give all his money to the woman's daughter, Candy, who is going to college in Galton. Things don't end up like he anticipated, and he ends up spending some time in town, where he decides to fix Lizzie's fence. From there, all sorts of things happen all at once: We meet Lizzie's sister Annie and her husband Tommy, who have their own set of problems, Lizzie and Tay begin a romance, there's a secret inside The Enemy Club, and Paige takes matters into her own hands. How Sweet It Is is a bittersweet, multilayered Contemporary Romance. I liked Lizzie and understood her reluctance to accept Tay's help in an effort to teach her daughter not to depend on men, but it was still a bit frustrating to read over and over her refusal of help. The interaction between Lizzie and Paige was soooo true-to-life. As the mother of a teenager, I can attest to that, lol. Tay was definitely an anti-hero, and his self-flagellation made me crazy! And while the romance was sweet, it felt a bit rushed - the sex scenes were each about two paragraphs long. I also thought the ending was a bit of a stretch with the mystery being solved in an unbelievable way. How Sweet It Is is the first book in the Enemy Club series.
AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Author Sophie Gunn is a pseudonym for award-winning author Diana Holquist, but while Diana writes fast-paced romantic comedies set in big cities, Sophie writes more down-to-earth, emotional stories set in small towns. Both of them, however, live just outside Philadelphia with two kids, two cats, and just one husband. This is the first title for Sophie Gunn, with Sweet Kiss of Summer as book two in this Enemy Club series coming soon. Titles for Diana Holquist include: How to Tame a Modern Rogue, Hungry for More, and Sexiest Man Alive. Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that there was no white knight coming to save her. As a hard-working waitress in a local diner, she's trying to raise her teenage daughter to be as independent as she herself had to be. But part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, if for no other reason than to fix up her family's home, which is in dyer need of repairs. The "Enemy Club"-- high school rivals turned best friends, who promise to tell the truth and nothing but-- someone gets Lizzie to state her wish aloud. In steps Dante "Tay" Giovanni. He's aloof, sexy, and offers his assistance with no strings attached. But Tay is in her small town for one reason-- to try to overcome a recent tragedy in his past. But the past has a fierce grip, and unless they both learn to let go, neither will ever find true happiness. I've enjoyed Diana Holquist's books in the past, and was curious to see the softer side in Sophie Gunn. I was not disappointed. This book was a lot slower paced than expected, but in no way was it boring. Rest assured for Diana's fans, her quick-witted humor does poke through. There were two things about this book that stood out after reading. "The Enemy Club" for one. I love the idea alone, but put into action was downright funny, endearing, and intriguing. The second book, Sweet Kiss of Summer, follows Nina, and I am looking very forward to it. The other was the hero, Tay. For a guy with a traumatizing past, and now left with emotional baggage, he had humor without being over-broody. Very well done. I love the small town feel to this book, as the setting was perfect. The secondary characters made the book pop. And the subplot and secondary conflicts were just riveting. Highly recommended. Kelly Moran Author and Reviewer Bookpleasures
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Lizzie Bea Carpenter has successfully lived life as a waitress and single mother with her daughter Paige for the last 14 years. She didn't need the rat that deserted her as an unwed mother in a small town and she doesn't need Dante "Tay" Giovanni either even though he is quite the handyman. What she needs are her friends who were enemies but now her closest confidents to talk to. Lizzie and her girlfriends rewrote the book on frenemies and truth being told all the time is not always in the best interest of anyone. But Tay is doing penance for a poor decision that changed too many lives including his own and helping Lizzie around her broken down house helps. He gave up everything to try and correct his mistake and never thought that be the answer to a waitress's prayer would be one of them. Lizzie works hard at her job and keeps life for her and Paige good but not great and all she needs is someone to help fix up her house before the past comes knocking on her door trying to wreak havoc and attempting to take her comfortable life away. Lizzie lets Tay and his assorted menagerie of animals work on her property and he finds a way to finagle a place in her heart. Lizzie knows how to stay strong and tough but sometimes it does not hurt to let someone else mend the fence or fix the front porch light. No strings attached with men and surrounded by her friends was how Lizzie saw herself until Tay showed up and they were able to teach one another how to forgive and live life without guilt and try to let go of the burdens that weigh us down. With money flying around, a man in her present stirring up long buried feeling, the past causing problems and a sister recovering from postpartum depression Lizzie has her hands full. She hopes that some of her prayers are answered but she knows what she really wants now is to find a way to convince Tay that showing your fears is not a weakness but a strength you grow from. Lizzie and Tay are each bearing their own crosses in life and both of them are trying to figure out a way to put one foot in front of the other without tripping. They both have dreams but fear they are unrealistic and won't hope enter into the picture yet they discover not only hope but faith and a belief that prayers are answered in one fashion or another. You just have to keep saying out loud what you want for it to happen.
Jennmarie68 More than 1 year ago
This was a very "cute" book. I don't know how else to describe it. It wasn't cheesy or anything, but it was a really nice book to read. Lizzie and Paige are living like most mothers and daughters do. They love each other and are making their way, but there's a bit of a strain. And while I'd commit most of their issues to the fact that Paige is a teenager there's something more to the strain in their relationship. It makes me remember all the things I went through with my parents when I was a teenager... And how I always thought the world was going to end when I didn't get my way (if only someone would have told me, right? LOL) Lizzie ends up falling in love with Tay, all the while trying to keep the peace with her daughter. So her love interest doesn't show up at the most opportune of times, but is love ever easy??? And it's not as if Tay is in the market either. He's dealing with his own issues and is scared of falling in love. This was a pretty good story. It was so sweet, and even though Lizzie didn't want to fall in love with Tay I was really rooting for them. I really liked Lizzie, and her "Enemy Club" seems like it will be a great tie for more stories in the future. They all seem to be characters that could support their own stories. Lizzie was so down to earth, and I think she made a good introductory character for the rest of the series. Gunn's writing was so easy to read. It flowed so smoothly, and even though there were a few different characters I was never really confused as to who they were and how they tied to the overall story. A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. This is not a paid review and is a truthful and honest review.
BookHounds More than 1 year ago
First of all, I really enjoyed this one, but you must suspend your beliefs in order to truly get into the story. Thee were a few plot points that I had to take with a grain of salt. Lizzie gets pregnant and keeps the baby with her parents help and when they die, she inherits the property. Due to her small salary as a waitress, she can maintain the house and things are falling apart. Enter Tay, a handsome and handy man who offers to help Lizzie fix the house asking nothing in return. Tay hears Lizzie in the diner mention that she need things fixed and in his guilt he offers help. Tay has immense guilt over an accident he caused killing Linda and leaving her daughter, Candy, penniless. Tay sells everything he owns and gives Candy the money which she promptly throws off a bridge. This is where the plot lost me. I can't imagine anyone throwing money away, especially someone who needs it. So Tay and Lizzie work through their issues and resolve their conflicts. There are some sweet and humorous moments as well that will have you saying "AWWW". This story is the set up for a series of four(?) total books about the Enemy Club. I loved the author's writing so much that I will definitely want to read more from her. I received this book at no charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Galton, New York Ethan Pond the father of his fourteen year old daughter Paige informs Lizzie Carpenter he is coming to see his offspring for the holidays. The "ratbastard" abandoned her when she was a pregnant high school senior. Lizzie tells her friends/enemies (Jill, Nina and Georgia) at the Enemy Club that "pondscum" is coming to see his daughter. She also wishes she could hire a handyman to fix up her house. Dante "Tay" Giovanni happens to be in town to fund a college student Candy as he holds himself culpable for the car accident that killed her mom. Tay overhears Lizzie's wish and begins repairing the house as guilt prevents him sleeping anyway during his sleepless nights. However she begins to join him and Dune the cat on their nocturnal fixer upper and soon afterward love heals two hearts. This is an entertaining Enemies Club contemporary romance starring two interesting lead characters. Whereas Lizzie is somewhat typical of the sub-genre, a working single mom with doubts about having a man in her life, Tay brings the freshness with his deep guilt over the accident to include surviving. The support cast including an elderly neighbor enhances a terrific opening act as Sophie Gunn provides an engaging tale in which love helps heal emotional wounds. Harriet Klausner
AJBA More than 1 year ago
this is the 1st book of hers that I read and it was easy reading
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Carrie Semelroth More than 1 year ago
I could not even finish it. I feel like it talked about every little detail, with out really making a point. Not good.
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bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Sophie is a writing genius. How Sweet It Is took my breath away and made me think about when my husband and I got together. He came along, out of nowhere and changed my life the same way Dante changed Lizzie's. This is one of my favorite love stories because of how real it is. Five stars!
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1historygirl More than 1 year ago
The plot of this book has been spelled out already, so I will just say that this turned out to be darker than I expected, from the blurb, title and cover. Not that this changes the quality of the book, but it did change the quality of my experience, as I was expecting (and was in the mood for) a lighter read. Truly, that is my largest complaint. The story held tight, the small town setting was different and interesting. But nearly every character was heavy, loaded down with a dark secret or darker, turbulent emotions. It was a bit of a downer for me, although I think that readers who like a damaged hero will enjoy Tae. Based on the secondary characters, I would say that tone is likely to hold true as the series progresses. I might even pick the next one up--when I'm in the mood for a heavier read.