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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

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Today's post is sneaking in like a teenager late for curfew, or a midnight snacker to a kitchen.  Why?  Because...well, because I don't always have all the time I WISH I did to read and review the things that capture my attention, but by golly, I WILL get to them all eventually.  Consider today an eventually...seeing as I actually finished reading this one at the beginning of the month.  *whistles*  Sorry fair readers, I've kept it to myself for too long, but just think!  Now you've got something to keep your Fall reads rolling while still touching on the joys of the Summer gone bye.  You're welcome.  ^-^  Now, let's get down to business...

The title garnering our late night interest today is a work of Fiction that reminds me of the children's tale about a city mouse and a country mouse.  In this case, it's one leading lady taken out of the city and shoved into the country...yes, I said shoved.  You see, there's a story behind that (good thing too since we're talking about a novel, right? *smirk*) but she does a much better job of telling it than I, so let's get to it, shall we?  Today's book of choice is...

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

Louise Miller
Pamela Dorman Books

About the book...
When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambĂ©ed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

With the joys of a 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, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy  comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.


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Olivia notch baker, canine companion (loved Salty!), fabulous friend...but with very bad decision making skills in the love department.  I loved her, but I didn't envy the choices she had to make at times.  Grant it, the sticky situations were her own doing (for the most part), but she didn't aim for hardship when she started out.  I mean, who does, right?  She always had the best intentions in mind, usually of those around her versus her own, but as much heart as she lead with, she inflicted pain on herself at times that simply didn't need to be.  The unavailable boyfriends (yes, plural), the quick escapes to another state when things got too heated (yes, plural again), the harboring of secrets that should have been shared ( know what I'm going to type here)...all things that could have been avoided in one way or another, but then again...a life lived in fear of making mistakes is not really a life lived, now is it?

Aside from our leading lady Livvy, we've other memorable characters to consider starting with one, Martin McCracken.  In truth, he was a gem, and just the sort of distraction of the heart Livvy needed, whether she knew it or not.  Although you'll want to throw the towel in on him at one point (or AT HIM), I beg you to reconsider; it'll be worth me. Next on our list is Hannah, otherwise known as the always-does-right best friend of our leading lady.  She's not snooty or high-and-mighty, but she does have a certain air about her she likes to keep, and it does not include becoming town gossip.  Read into that what you may.  Last but certainly not least, we've Margaret Hurley.  She's a rather complex woman.  Owner of Livvy's new place of employment, the Sugar Maple Inn (doesn't that sound darling!), she doesn't come off as someone that anyone would consider sweet in the least...but, she's another one of those characters with a story of how she became the person she is and, well frankly, it'd be hard not to turn inward and reject the world to some degree, especially when some parts of it are so in-your-face all the time.  You'll have to read it to discover her secrets but believe you me, you will sympathize and then marvel at how things turn out in the end.

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In the end, the story was tasty as the desserts featured.  Our leading lady may have had a bad turn of events several times over, but she managed just fine, turning the proverbial lemons into lemonade, or in this case, apples into pie.  Word to the wise, you will crave pie during and after this story.  Speaking of which, I could go for a slice of cherry pie right about now...*yum*...

Recommended read for Women's Fiction and Romance fans alike.  Filled with heartache, obstacles, and love, it's the perfect read to curl up with this season as we enjoy all that Autumn has to offer.


About the author...

Photo of Louise Miller
Photo: © Nina Subin

Louise Miller is a pastry chef 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.


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Special thanks to Jessica at Viking/Penguin Books for the copy for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now via Pamela Dorman Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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