A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.
Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.
Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.
Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.
I love food. I love books. I love books about food. This is one of those books. The descriptions are mouth watering, to say the very least. Cakes and cupcakes and meringue and all the sweet things I have such a weakness for!
A story from the 1800s alternates with modern day timeline, but it isn’t immediately obvious how and where these stories would intertwine. The WWII era, where fortunes were fluid and lives were malleable, makes for a compelling read. I am staring to think I should read more historical fiction if they’re all as beautifully written as this book.
Claire has the power of healing through food, and she can sense deep emotions in people. And she has the right cake for everybody. She decides to set up a shop selling wedding cakes in her hometown, which has now become a bridal district. Savvy decision, Claire. Her friends, clients and townspeople make up a great background as well as provide wonderful interactions – which of course leads to more descriptions of cake!
This book made me very hungry.
There are small montages of the 1800s and I loved those parts, even more than the present day narrative. Which is a harder decision to make than you’d think, considering I love food so much and the descriptions in this book are absolutely mouthwatering. I want to read more of this story because I am so not done reading about those characters. I want more!
Overall, I really enjoyed it. The story reaches a satisfying enough conclusion, but there’s so much more I want to know about the people involved. I’m just glad the book didn’t end on a cliffhanger.
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