The city baker's guide to country living

Louise Miller

Book - 2016

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FICTION/Miller Louise
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1st Floor FICTION/Miller Louise Due Sep 9, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York, New York : Pamela Dorman Books, Viking [2016]
Language
English
Physical Description
342 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781101981207
1101981202
Main Author
Louise Miller (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

After accidentally setting her fancy Boston workplace on fire, pastry chef Livvy flees to Vermont, where her best friend helps her get a job at the local bed and breakfast, which turns a temporary escape into something more. Livvy's tetchy new employer has a hidden agenda—to regain blue ribbon status in the annual apple pie contest. Gradually, the directionless orphan and her trusty dog are drawn into the town and grow involved with its denizens. Her best friend gets pregnant and needs Livvy to stay close by. Her chef colleague develops a crush on her. The local contra dance band has an opening for her and her banjo. When Livvy's path crosses that of the kindly neighbors' prodigal son, her connection deepens, but she takes a few wrong turns before she finds her happy ending. Miller's charming debut includes pastry descriptions that will require a bakery visit to get through, and readers can bake their own blue ribbon apple pies from Livvy's recipe. Offer this to romance readers as well as folks who don't think they read romance. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Like her creator, Olivia Rawlings is a Boston-based pastry chef, though one doubts that Miller ever set an entire building alight while flambéing her signature dessert. After that little upset, Livvy seeks comfort in Guthrie, VT, settling down with peppy dog Salty when she's offered a job at the Sugar Maple Inn and falling for Martin McCracken, home to tend his ailing father. Dorman's imprint just gave us J. Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest. [Page 81]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

"Flambéed" is an apt description of both Olivia's career and personal life. The pastry chef for a four-star Boston dinner club flees in the aftermath of a meringue pie mishap. Worse yet, she's been jilted and humiliated by the club's president after she is exposed as his side interest. Nursing a wounded ego and a serious craving for a slice of key lime, Olivia lands in Guthrie, VT, home of her longtime best friend, where she astounds herself by accepting a job at the local inn. An embittered spinster and county fair ribbon winner who lost the only thing that really mattered, a wise elderly banjo player, and Martin, a charming, bespectacled man with a checkered history of ditching town, all school Olivia in the art of small-town living. VERDICT 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. Fans of Jeanne Ray and Judith Ryan Hendricks will enjoy this lighthearted love story that's as homey as a slice of prized crumb apple pie.—Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA [Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the outset of Miller's endearing debut, 32-year-old pastry chef Olivia Rawlings loses her job after she drops a tray of baked Alaska and starts a fire at the prestigious Boston club where she works. In need of comfort, she heads to Guthrie, Vt., to visit her best friend, Hannah Doyle, who lands her a job at the nearby Sugar Maple, a picturesque inn owned by the stern yet protective Margaret Hurley. As Olivia adjusts to her new life, her growing attachment to Margaret's friends, the McCrackens—especially Martin, the fiddle-playing son—prompts her return to banjo and folk music. But even as she settles in and joins a contra dance band, she struggles to navigate the secrets, gossip, and long-held animosities that animate the town. Miller, a pastry chef herself, writes about food with vivid detail, but her rhythmic prose is even crisper when her interests converge: "From the stage you could see the lattice pattern the dances made, the couples weaving in and out like fluted strips of piecrust." Miller also excels at characterization, revealing her protagonist's complex pasts in subtle ways. Even minor characters such as Alfred, Olivia's coworker at the Sugar Maple, and Henry, the ailing McCracken patriarch, are sharply drawn and memorable. Throughout, the novel's empathetic spirit and unhurried pace allow it to grapple with grief, family, and belonging, while keeping the focus on Olivia's difficult decisions. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A pastry chef for an exclusive Boston dinner club loses her job in the wake of a disastrous fire and escapes to her best friend's Vermont hometown, where her mouthwatering desserts give way to a new job, a blue-ribbon competition, a potential relationship and new understandings about belonging.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

After losing her job at an exclusive Boston dinner club, pastry chef Olivia Rawlings escapes to her best friend's Vermont hometown, where her mouthwatering desserts give way to a new job, a blue-ribbon competition, a potential relationship, and new understandings about belonging.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When Olivia Rawlings, Boston pastry chef extraordinaire, sets not only her flambâe dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to Vermont stay with her best friend, Hannah, who lives in a town famous for Bag Balm and contra dancing. Since her previous post at the exclusive Boston club has probably also gone up in smoke, Olivia gratefully accepts a job at the Sugar Maple Inn, not realizing at first that she's been hired to help the cantankerous owner reclaim the inn's blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small-town life, and when she meets Martin McCracken, a native who has returned to take care of his ailing father, she begins to understand that she may not be as alone in the world as she once thought.--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"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." --Library JournalA full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home—and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed 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.