My Review: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.
Oh this was so cute and charming up until the conflict -- I have to say that I didn't love the way the conflict was handled (not telling each other things, running away and then the dreaded trope that you all know I can't stand!!!). However, before that, I loved the Vermont setting, the baking and Livvy -- she was tough as nails but fell in love with this little Inn and Vermont. I loved reading about all the seasons in Vermont and all of the desserts that Livvy made for every occasion. It was also fun to read about the banjo and the fiddle and the musical aspect of this book that I wasn't expecting. Livvy is an avid banjo player and falls hard for Martin, one of the best fiddle players she's ever heard; she also falls hard for his family, which becomes like her own. It was very sweet and super cute (and it made me SO hungry) up until that dreaded conflict. I will say that although I found parts of the conflict completely unnecessary, it wasn't as bad as other books I've read where I've had to DNF once that dreaded trope crops up. I still think this one is super cute, especially if love Vermont and/or dessert!
I was reminded a lot of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake reading this one -- probably because of all the baking but it was also fun to read another book set in Vermont so soon after reading Bittersweet! The City Baker's Guide to Country Living comes out next week on August 9, 2016, and you can purchase HERE.
Martin caught my left hand in his before I made my escape. "Olivia . . . "
I turned back to face him, holding my breath.
"You asked me what I thought about our friendship."
I nodded, wide-eyed.
"It makes me feel like I'm home."
It was as if he had answered a question I hadn't known I was asking.