The Book Worm: Review: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

Book Review: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living


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.

Genre: fiction

Publishing date: August 2016

Mature content: yes, but light

Review: I came across this book purely by chance while browsing around a bookstore, read the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I confess that I disliked the first few pages, because Olivia doesn't come across as a very likable character. She's drowning in debt, doesn't pay her rent on time, drinks too much and is having an affair with her boss, which happens to be married. And when an accidental fire partially destroys the dinner club she works for in Boston, she runs without even considering the consequences.

So there was a point in the book when I actually thought about setting it aside and moving onto a more interesting read. But then the story grew on me and I became totally engrossed in the Sugar Maple Inn and the McCraken family and, at a later stage, in the lovely romance between Olivia and Martin. From then on, I stayed up late to finish reading it and when it ended I had a smile on my face. Lesson learned: don't give up on a book too soon, it may still surprise you. 

There were a few details that I thought were left unresolved at the end, and I do think the synopsis is a bit misleading, because Olivia doesn't really behave like a city girl at any point in the book, she behaves like someone who's more used to running from problems than facing them, and that doesn't exactly come from city living. So, while I can't rate it with five stars, I still think The City Girl's Guide to Country Living is a thoroughly enjoyable book. 

Oh, and the book also comes with an apple pie recipe which sounds absolutely delicious...  

Happy readings,

the book worm, book blog

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