Who can resist a novel that opens with baked Alaska and a flambeed restaurant? I wouldn't even try! I was smitten the moment I read the first sentence to The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, a debut novel by Louise Miller:
The night I lit the Emerson Club on fire had been perfect for making meringue.
"Mix in one part Diane Mott Davidson's delightful culinary adventures with several tablespoons of Jan Karon's country living and quirky characters, bake at 350 degrees for one rich and warm romance."
From the first page, I was charmed and captivated by this darling novel.
"When Olivia Rawlings--purple haired pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club--sets not just her flambe' 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 the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, asks Livvy to bake an apple pie, then offers her a job. Broke and suspecting that her days at the club might be numbered, Livvy accepts."
After Livvy moves into the sugarhouse with her Irish wolfhound mix, Salty, she begins creating mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie.
Livvy also realizes the true reason she'd 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 to his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in the world as she once thought.
"The life you want may not be the one you expected--it could be even better."
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living is a full-hearted novel about discovering the true meaning of home--and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn't even know you were looking.
I adored this novel. The characters leaped off the page, and Louise's words are so evocative, I could smell the apple pies baking in her oven. I wanted to sample every dessert on the menu.
The author, Louise Miller, is a pastry chef who lives and works in Boston, MA. She is an art school drop out, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs. You can find her blog on Tumblr. To learn about upcoming book signings, visit her at Twitter and Penguin/Random House.
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living was selected by Indie Next as an August pick, and it was included in LibraryReads Top Ten List for August 2016. Rave reviews have poured in. The novel has been praised by Elle Magazine as one of the 11 best novels to read in August, and Real Simple Magazine chose it as one of the best new books to read.
If you love to bake, if you love to dream about baking, then you will adore this book. The author gives little baking tips along the way, and her recipe for apple pie is applause-worthy (it's included in the back of the book).
I'm joining the marvelous Novel Bakers to celebrate the publication of this charming book. I can't wait to see their edible reviews. Visit
Jain at a quiet life
Mary at Home Is Where the Boat Is
Linda at More Fun Less Laundry
Barnes and Noble
Indie Next August 2016 List
Louise Miller -- Tumblr