The City Baker’s Guide To Country Living
By Louise Miller
Author’s website: louisemillerauthor.tumblr.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen
A warm, full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home, and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking.
When Olivia Rawlings—baker extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she takes a much-needed weekend break in the idyllic leafy town of Guthrie, Vermont. A weekend soon turns into something more permanent when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, needs to recruit a new baker who can help her reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. On paper, at least, Livvy seems to be just who she was looking for.
Livvy’s love life’s a mess and so she does what she does best: relocate. Along with Salty, her gigantic, uberenthusuastic dog with almost too much personality, Livvy, as the Sugar Maple’s new baker, brings her mouthwatering desserts to the residents of Guthrie, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend, Hannah. And when Olivia meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from New York to nurse his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. With the joys of a warm, fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Olivia Rawlings may finally find that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.
Olivia Rawlings had a really bad day at work. I am talking really bad. She was working at an exclusive restaurant, The Emerson Club, in Boston. That is until she caught the place on fire. See what I mean, she had a really bad day. After the fire, Olivia goes to visit her friend in Vermont, Hannah. She plans on just a short visit, just to regroup and let the flames die down in Boston. But Hannah has other ideas, and she arranges for Olivia to take a job at The Sugar Maple Inn as a baker. But she does not automatically get the job. She has to make a pie that meets the approval of Margaret, the owner of the Inn. When she finally does get the job, it is only on a trial basis. She will have to be on her best behavior and cook the best she can to win over Margaret, who is crotchety and disagreeable.
The characters are well developed and well wounded. Olivia has not had it easy, being orphaned when she turned sixteen. She managed to make a life for herself but it was not always easy. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between her and Hannah, the really cared about each other. The other characters that she met while in Vermont added a lot to the story. Dotty, Henry and even Margaret begin to grow on her and she starts to think of them as friends. And Martin is someone who she could lose her heart to if she is not careful. And you have to love Salty, her overzealous dog.
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing. I felt like I was staying at The Sugar Maple Inn, being a part of all of the activities. And the cooking sections were done really well, not taking over the story but flowing nicely throughout the book. The writing style flows smoothly and the book was an easy read. I felt it defined the characters very clearly by their actions and words.
This is a feel-good book that has plenty of humor, romance, and small-town charm. In Vermont, Olivia finds things that she did not even know she was looking for and discovered what was missing from her life. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted women’s contemporary.