My Review:YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.
In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.
Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.
The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?
Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.
I think I love books set in a kitchen -- there is something so fascinating to me about the stress, pace and reward of working in that type of environment. And I know I definitely love coconut cake: WARNING: do not read this book hungry! But I didn't love this book with all of my heart. Don't get me wrong: this is a good book, and a very quick read, but something about it left me desiring more. I liked Lou but sometimes she was hard to like -- she was a bit too oblivious to the truths around her to be completely believable. The other portions of this book that detracted from my whole hearted love were the constant depressing plot points that sometimes seemed a bit unnecessary -- without giving anything away, everything that could go wrong, goes wrong and then, of course, Lou's love interest doesn't tell her something major, thereby breaking everyone's heart when they all find out the truth. I'm a bit tired of this cliche -- when was the last time you read a romance where this didn't happen? That being said, however, there were many charming part of this story and I loved the kitchen/food scenes! It's also a total love letter to Milwaukee so, if you're from there, you will probably love this book!
I would recommend this to fans of The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand or any book by Sarah Jio -- something about the tone and voice of this book reminded me of both. And, if you're looking for other books set in a kitchen and/or with a female chef -- The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand and Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay are also great! The Coincidence of Coconut Cake comes out tomorrow, July 21, 2015, and you can purchase HERE!
Thunder rumbled and a cool breeze rushed through the open back door of the restaurant. A waterfall fell over the entrance, the gutters above long defunct. Other than the rain and thunder, only the whir of Harley's mixer and the snick of knives on cutting boards disturbed the peaceful morning. While Lou loved the raucous music, loud voices and chaotic movement of a dinner rush, the calm prep work soothed her soul and gave her time to think. Some people did downward dog, some burned incense in front of a Buddha statue, some prayed the rosary; Lou chopped vegetables into tiny squares, filleted fish, and reduced veal stock. Her meditation smelled better, and even if she didn't find a solution, at least she got to eat.