Good afternoon, fellow bloggers! Here’s a review of one of my most recent reads for my online book club. Enjoy.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope.
Olivia Rawlings is a pastry chef extraordinare for an exclusive Boston dinner club. One evening, however, her flambéed dessert catches fire, including the rest of the building. Feeling humilated, Olivia decides she needs to get away, so she packs a few things, including her dog, Salty, and drives out to Guthrie, Vermont—home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend, Hannah. Although her stay is supposed to be temporary, Olivia is offered a job as a pastry chef for Margaret Hurley, the uptight owner of the Sugar Maple Inn. Assuming her days at the club are numbered—including the fact that she’s broke and can’t pay her rent—Olivia takes the job.
With a new job, including free room and board, Livvy creates her famous desserts for the Guthrie residents. It isn’t long, however, before she learns of the reason for being hired: to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. No matter, Livvy is a team player.
During her stay, she begins to grow accustomed to the country life. Will it be worth staying? Or will she eventually go back to Boston? Then Livvy meets Martin McCraken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to help out his sick father. As she gets to know Martin more, Livvy realizes she’s not as alone and confused in the world as she’d assumed. Then an unexpected arrival occurs in Guthrie, leaving Livvy to decide whether to stay or go, and what it means to truly be home.
I think this was a great story. It tells the reader that not only does life not turn out the way we planned, it could be even better than we’d expected. Also, if you’re a foodie, this could be the book for you. Honestly, my reading the parts where desserts were being prepared made me crave pie. The only thing I’ve baked is a cake, which was years ago. The corners of the cake were cracked, but I was happy for my progress. Perhaps I’ll learn to bake a pie, one day.
As always, feel free to comment. Happy reading!
About the author: Louise Miller is a pastry chef and writer who lives and works in Boston, MA. She received a scholarship to attend GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, a yearlong workshop for novelists. She is an art school dropout, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is her debut novel.