MYSTIC — Jenn Bouchard, a self-described Navy brat who lived in Gales Ferry when her father was the executive officer of the USS Groton at the subase, is coming back to Connecticut this weekend to sign copies of her debut novel at an author event at Bank Square Books.
Bouchard's novel, "First Course," which received an "Honorable Mention" in the "General Fiction" category of the 2021 San Francisco Book Festival, tells the story of 21-year-old Janie Whitman, who retreats to to her family’s summer house in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, after four life-altering catastrophes hit in just one day. One of those catastrophes includes the loss of both parents at the same time in a tragic plane crash.
Janie tries to provide stability for her sister, Alyssa, and two young nieces by cooking them "amazing food," said Bouchard, an avid cook who has been teaching high school social studies for 21 years.
"Despite the obstacles in their way, when Janie and Alyssa are tasked with establishing a lasting memorial for their parents, they just might find the second acts they are seeking," she said.
Through a mix-up with the alumni office at her parents’ alma mater, Janie meets a young high school guidance counselor named Rocky at a volunteer event, and their fast-tracked romance helps Janie to see possibilities beyond the life she had known just a few weeks prior. But with her ex-boyfriend (and former boss) making overtures beyond her wildest dreams, as well as Alyssa’s estranged husband willing to do whatever it takes to win her back, the Whitman sisters are faced with big decisions.
Emily Belden, author of "Hot Mess" and "Husband Material," called Bouchard's book "a delicious debut."
"The food and the characters are equally scrumptious," Emily Belden said.
"For an unknown debut author with a small press, this is getting a fair amount of buzz," Bouchard said in an email, "I am excited to sign books in Mystic on July 24th!"
"Coming back to Mystic for this event is a bit of a homecoming for me," added Bouchard whose parents live on Mason's Island. "I have fond memories of field trips to the Mystic Aquarium, where I now bring my own children."
A graduate of Bates College and Tufts University, Bouchard lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children and is an avid Red Sox fan.
For more information, visit her website at jennbouchard.com, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @JennBouchardBOS.
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro