The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Published: August 2016
Genre: contemporary, women’s fiction
When Olivia Rawlings—baker extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she takes a much-needed weekend break in the idyllic leafy town of Guthrie, Vermont. A weekend soon turns into something more permanent when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, needs to recruit a new baker who can help her reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. On paper, at least, Livvy seems to be just who she was looking for.
Along with Salty, her gigantic, uberenthusuastic dog with almost too much personality, Livvy, as the Sugar Maple’s new baker, brings her mouthwatering desserts to the residents of Guthrie and her best friend, Hannah. And when Olivia meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from New York to nurse his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. With the joys of a warm, 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, Olivia Rawlings may finally find that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.
Livvy is an excellent pastry chef. Her whole life is about her work as a baker. But when she sends her Boston dinner club (and, in many ways, her affair) alight, she flees to Vermont to get a breather and be with her best friend Hannah. Word gets out a baker is in town, and soon enough she’s hired as the new baker for Sugar Maple Inn. She not only needs to do the daily tasks of creating masterful baked goods solo, she also is perfecting her apple pie recipe so Sugar Maple can get the blue ribbons once more. Livvy begins to settle into the small town, participating in a contradance band and spending time with the McCracken family. After all this time in the big city, is Guthrie her true home?
I could feel Livvy’s tension in Boston subside and fade away when she settled into Guthrie. She began to loosen up and settle in, enjoying the small town life she used to make fun of. The soothing routine baking needs for the inn — rolls, pastries, bread, cakes and cookies — followed by the high adrenaline of weddings and festivals really created a warm, homey atmosphere. I especially enjoyed the holiday family gathering scenes with the McCrackens, and the times when Livvy participated in the band for contradances. She slowed down, breathed more easily, and took a break. Her true colors came out.
Comfort reading at its best! It’s a slow, relaxing read — just what I needed. It served as a reminder that we are here to enjoy life, not drown in the chaos and stress. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is the perfect book to read over the winter holidays, curled up under a blanket, hot beverage in hand, and a pastry (or two…) on a plate nearby.
(Plus, look at the awesome paperback cover. That’s what caught my attention!)
This qualifies as book 15 of 5 library books in 2017.