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Literature / Love in a Nutshell

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Love in a Nutshell is a 2012 romance novel by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly. The book follows Kate Appleton, a recent divorcée who has also lost her job as magazine editor. Trying to start her life over, she moves back to Keene's Harbor, Michigan to live in her parent's summer cabin. Kate hopes to fix up the cabin (titled "The Nutshell") and turn it into a bed and breakfast.

Needing money to achieve this goal, she goes to Matt Culhane, owner of a local micro-brewery, and demands a job. Recently, Matt's company has had a string of suspicious events that has lead him to believe that someone is trying to sabotage his company. He decides to hire her as a way to have an insider report any suspicious activities that go on during the day. Kate agrees to the arrangement but only if she will get a $20,000 bonus if she catches the culprit.

Tropes used in this book:

  • Alliterative Name: Missy Mortensen.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Discussed by Kate who notes that Matt has more shoes than her.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Kate.
  • Bee Afraid: The drywall in Kate's house had a bee colony living in it.
  • Berserk Button: For Kate, anyone hurting a dog.
  • Canine Companion: Stella once Kate gets her back. Also Matt's dog Chuck.
  • The Casanova: Matt has a reputation in town for being one. He confesses to Kate that while he has dated many women, he hasn't slept with many of them and is more interested in having a relationship.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The thread Kate finds in the factory, Laila's and Harley's lighters.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Deena Bowen to Matt.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kate becomes one when Harley holds her at gun point. However she attacks him after he kicks Chuck.
  • Disney Dog Fight: Kate participates in one for her poodle Stella. She wins as she knows that being disinterested is the way to get Stella's attention.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Both Kate and Matt.
  • Hunk: Matt gets described as one several times.
  • Kick the Dog: Harley does a literal kick the dog to prove his villainous-ness in the climax. The dog in question has three legs.
  • Jerkass: Richard, Kate's ex.
  • Meaningful Name: Ginger Monroe, Matt's office manager in Traverse City. Her name is doubly meaningful: She has red hair and is obsessed with the 1950s. Her name comes from Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Starflower Creed.
  • Outlaw Couple: Discussed in-universe by Kate in regards to Harley trying to sabotage Matt's business so that he and Laila can retire together.
  • Plot Allergy: Kate's allergy to hops (which are used in beer).
  • Quirky Town: Keene's Harbor.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: Kate's mother Barb used to be like this.
  • Shirtless Scene: Matt gets one, right after he's worked out to boot.
  • Shout-Out: Ginger Monroe's name references to actresses from the 1950s: Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.
  • So Proud of You: Having felt like her parents are disappointed in her, Kate's mom writes how proud she and Kate's dad are of Kate.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kate after Harley kicks Chuck.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Harley towards the end when he has kidnapped Kate.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Kate has some of his towards her parents.