Allie Catt was a surprise to her parents. They were well into their forties when she made an appearance, and they truly weren’t good at parenting. They were highly educated, but they didn’t have a clue what to do with a child. They expected her to be an adult when she came out of the womb. As a source of comfort for herself, Allie disappeared into the world of books to engage her overactive mind. From that love of all things literary, she decided that she wanted to become an English teacher. Also, at the age of six, when her parents “checked out,” she turned to cooking. She is quite creative in the kitchen. At the age of twenty-three, when her fiancé dumped her for a “younger” woman, Allie gave up her dream of becoming a teacher and returned to her hometown, Bramblewood, one of many small towns in the mountain community of Asheville, North Carolina. She set up a catering business, and now she not only caters, but she is also a personal chef and supplies baked goods to local restaurants and cafés. In her downtime, she devotes most of her time to reading, visiting her favorite bookstore, Feast for the Eyes, and playing with her tuxedo cat, Darcy.


A number of Allie’s regular clients demand twice weekly deliveries of my scones, cupcakes, and cookies. Three others regularly ordered her fruit or chocolate tarts. A few need her to make nutritious meals. Could she use more business? Sure. Couldn’t everybody? She certainly needs more money in her coffers to buy all the books she wants to read.


The owner of Feast for the Eyes, an independent bookstore in Bramblewood, is Marigold Markel, a seventy-year-old wonder. She offers book clubs and authors events and more to encourage her readers to stretch their minds. The man she was supposed to marry, was a bibliophile like her. He died before they could wed, but he left her his sizeable estate and is the reason she is independently wealthy. She has hired her niece, Allie’s best friend Tegan, to assist her at the store. Because of Allie’s affection for the written word, Marigold acts like a second mother to Allie.


For those who aren’t familiar with Bramblewood, it is a delicious locale near Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It consists of a primary boulevard named Main Street as well as Mountain Road, which crosses Main Street in the middle and leads into the mountains. There are a number of offshoot streets, too. The town brims with art galleries, shops, and restaurants. All the buildings are a uniform red clapboard with white trim. Because the town isn’t flat, there are charming terraced courtyards connecting the streets, each with additional shops at the crest. Tourism and second-home property owners keep the economy hopping.

The nearby metropolis of Asheville boasts the splendiferous Biltmore Hotel and the University of North Carolina Asheville. There is a wealth of opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities.  The art scene is strong as is the theater scene.


I have never been married, though I’d like to be married someday. I had a fiancé who I thought was the one, but when he left me for a younger woman, I was devastated. I mean, how much younger could he find without robbing the cradle? I was twenty-one! Needless to say, a week later, I hawked my engagement ring for a gold Celtic knot necklace. I love to cook and I love to read. All genres. I enjoy living near Asheville. Bramblewood, where I live, is small but filled with opportunities. Art galleries, restaurants, outdoor activities. I never want for something to do. I love to hike and occasionally run. A caterer has to stay fit. I’m on my feet a lot baking and delivering goods.  I graduated from Davidson College, a liberal arts school north of Charlotte, where I earned my degree in English. I thought I’d become an English teacher, but not all English teachers get hired off the bat. If at all.

Note to my friends: Always always always have a backup plan.


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Book Trailer

Murder on the Page

Book Clubs

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Note: Daryl Wood Gerber is available to talk with your book club via FaceTime or Zoom. Please email Daryl to arrange a date and time.