Rom-com trivia, wine and chocolate at Kismet book event

by Len Lear
Posted 2/8/24

Laura Piper Lee has wanted to be an author since she was a child. Well, she first wanted to be a mermaid, but that didn't work out.

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Rom-com trivia, wine and chocolate at Kismet book event


The Mt. Airy writer who goes by the pen name Laura Piper Lee has wanted to be an author since she was a child. Well, she first wanted to be a mermaid, but that didn't work out. So, since she enjoys making people laugh, flirting and avoiding exercise, writing romantic comedies became pretty much a perfect career choice.

Lee, who prefers to keep her birth name private, will chat about her new novel, “Hannah Tate, Beyond Repair,”  Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Kismet Cowork in Chestnut Hill, part of an event co-sponsored by Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy. The reading and discussion will include rom-com trivia, giveaways, wine, chocolate and snacks. Literary Agent Eric Smith is expected to join in the fun.

Lee says the idea for the new book came to her in a dream.

“My literary agent wanted me to try my hand at writing a romantic comedy, and I laughed and told her, 'Sure, if I think of anything,' Lee said. “That night, I dreamed of a messy, millennial mom who loses her job and gets dumped in one terrible day and decides to pack herself and her infant son up to go and live with her loving, if irresponsible, parents in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia.”

Lee grew up in the rural South, not far from the small mountain town where “Hannah Tate, Beyond Repair” is set. The author moved to Philadelphia when her husband received a position as a professor at a local university. She has lived in Mt. Airy for 10 years.

In the new novel, published by Union Square & Company in New York City, the protagonist Hannah Tate can hardly believe her sleep-deprived eyes when she finds an engagement ring hidden in the closet. Killian, her responsible, attractive boyfriend – and the father of her new baby, Bowie – is finally going to propose. But a supposedly romantic night out goes horribly wrong when Killian reveals he’s dumping Hannah, not proposing.

Furious and heartbroken, Hannah takes Bowie and moves in with her mother and stepfather in Georgia. Hannah realizes that her parents’ cabin has vacation property gold written all over it — and could save her mother from going broke - again.

The only problem? The cabin’s décor is mildly terrifying and in desperate need of renovation. To fix up the place, Hannah hires River, the hot carpenter who lives in the treehouse next door. Not only does River respect Hannah’s business acumen, but he likes her non-business qualities as well. And Hannah can’t deny that this River is making waves inside her.

In true rom-com fashion, Hannah “ends up falling in love with the handsome, hippie carpenter who lives next door,” Lee said.  “The next morning, I pitched the idea to my agent, and she told me to go write the book. Six months later, I had my first book deal. Up to this point, I'd primarily written children's fantasy novels, so switching to adult romance has been a very interesting career twist.”

How much of the story, if any, is based on Lee's actual life? “Like Hannah,” she replied, “my parents live in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and I helped them renovate a nightmare fixer-upper cabin to rent out as an Airbnb, too. I did not fall in love with any handsome carpenters, however.”

So far, reviews of the book have been ecstatic. For example, Publishers Weekly wrote, “Folksy and complex … Lee makes a splash with her humorous and quirky rom-com debut. Hannah is an endearingly messy character with a heart of gold. Readers will find it easy to cheer her on from heartache to happiness.”

Lee, who has a young son, also told us, “I absolutely love living in Mt. Airy. The trees, the space, the friendly people and the great schools are all wonderful aspects of living in this neighborhood.”

The book discussion is at 6:30 p.m. at Kismet Cowork, 12 W. Willow Grove Ave., in Chestnut Hill.

For more information, visit Len Lear can be reached at