Minnesota native Jeff Miller and his partner, Dean, seem as surprised as the locals by their impulsive decision to leave behind their high-powered corporate lives in London and buy an old dairy and a run-down Victorian mansion in Hayward, Wis. As Miller says in his memoir, "Scoop," "Looking back, I wondered what could have prompted me to take those initial steps down a path that would alter the course of the rest of my life armed only with an optimistic hunch and the knowledge that turning back was not an option."

Readers will be glad Miller did not turn back. In a volume destined to be the summer read of the year for Hayward townies and summer folk, as well as anyone who's dreamed of making a daring life change, he serves up a good-humored account of the pair's transformation of West's Hayward Dairy into a crowd-pleasing emporium of ice cream and the mansion into the fabulously decorated, acclaimed bed and breakfast called McCormick House Inn.

Miller includes colorful characters to add dimension to a book that is packed with the practicalities of running a business, details of creating ice cream flavors, loving descriptions of Wisconsin's natural scene, surprising poignancy and the exhilaration that comes with making a dream come true.

Rosemary Herbert is a longtime literary critic and the author of "Front Page Teaser: A Liz Higgins Mystery."