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Everything I would want for in a summer read, filled with laughter, music, love, delicious food and smart women that are truly in charge of their lives. Makes you want to quit your job and move to the countryside to do nothing but bake and find that one special person.
If you like your stories fluffy with plenty of corn, this is the book for you. No real harm in it, just silly with a completely predictable storyline made further annoying by the protagonist's pseudo "tough chick" persona. The plot seems to be how literally everyone in her life immediately falls for her. And a final condemnation, she treats her "best (female) friend badly. Chick lit at its worst and no recipes to redeem itself.
This book, about a pastry chef running from her mistakes until she runs smack into a place she can call home, is a confection. And I mean that in the best possible way: it's sweet with just the right hints of tartness and salt, and, like a great dessert, it leaves you wanting more.
Livvy is living and working in Boston with nothing but her abandonment issues and a married boyfriend to keep her warm at night until she accidentally torches the posh club where she works with an errant baked Alaska. As she always does when the going gets tough, she runs -- this time, to her best friend Hannah's home in Guthrie, a pastorally perfect Vermont town. One thing leads to another, and soon this big-city baker finds herself making desserts at the quaint Sugar Maple B&B, whose crotchety owner, Margaret, is hell-bent on reclaiming the blue ribbon at the annual apple pie contest that her archenemy wrested from her the year before. Livvy also begins to connect with a neighboring couple and with their prodigal son Martin, who's come home to say goodbye to his dying father but, like Livvy herself, won't make any promises to anyone beyond that. Over the course of a year Livvy learns to open up and put down roots for the first time in her life, and her journey is never anything less than believable. I loved all the characters, especially prickly, funny, warmhearted Livvy, and the ending packed a few surprises yet also felt truly earned, a tricky combination to nail.
Louise Miller renders the Vermont landscape in all seasons beautifully, and between its shimmering descriptions of Guthrie's humble barns and fields and of Livvy's mouthwatering desserts, the book reads like a New England version of A Year in Provence -- it takes you somewhere magical and makes you wish you could stay there forever. This is a delightful read!
I’ve seen this book frequently compared to Gilmore Girls. Other than the quaint New England town and being set in an Inn, I didn’t get any other similarities. So if you are looking for fast talking, quick witted dialogue or an unbelievably close mother daughter relationship, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a cozy little story about a pastry chef who is trying to find direction in her life, look no further. I get more Virgin River vibes from this than Gilmore Girls. Margaret, the cantankerous inn keeper, is a lot like Hope, the equally disagreeable mayor of Virgin River. Go check it out!
Olivia Rawlings flees Boston after a disaster at upscale club where she works as pastry chef. She heads to Guthrie, VT, where her best friend, Hannah, lives with her doctor husband. Hannah talks Livvy into interviewing for the baker position at the Sugar Maple Inn, but Livvy isn't sure she wants to stay in Vermont for a year (that's the owner's commitment reques) or work for the intimidating Margaret Hurley.
This is a charming book with lots of wonderful characters: loveable, mothering Dotty McCracken, Margaret's best friend; Henry McCracken, Dotty's husband who is dying of colon cancer and takes Livvy under his wing to teach her how to play the dulcimer; Tom, the local dairy farmer, who invites Livvy - she plays the banjo - to join the local bluegrass band; Martin McCracken, the youngest son who is on leave from his job as a professor in Seattle to help care for his father; Hannah, who loves Livvy unconditionally; Albert, the chef at the Sugar Maple Inn who has a heart of gold, and, of course, the mysterious and formidable Margaret. All of these characters change Livvy's life for the better and her journey is engaging and fun.
Louise Miller’s novel is a delight. Her Livvy, full of spunk and talent, sports a barrier as hard as the shell on one of her creme brûlées. Her shell cracks as she opens her heart to the customs and inhabitants of that small Vermont town. Not only does Miller tell a lovely story about love and loss, she also tantalizes the reader with pies, napoleons, and macaroons. It was wonderful getting her recipe at the conclusion of the book, sweetness to mitigate leaving Miller’s remarkable cast of characters. A great read!
I enjoy books about the culinary/restaurant industry and this book was spot on! ( my son is a chef). The characters were totally believable and endearing, cast in a quaint little town full of people you'd like to meet and call friends. I have been to Vermont and the author does a wonderful job of describing this beautiful state... you feel like you're right there in the middle of things. The story held my interest all the way through. The only bad thing was that this book had to end!