'You can never be reminded too much of someone you love.'

I almost can't believe that it's time for the final 2017 Picky Pledge Reading Challenge review! I picked up The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller for December's prompt, "A Book You Bought Because of the Topic." There were so many options on my TBR that fit for this one. I've purchased a lot of books based on the topic or a specific keyword in the summary. But this one kept catching my eye and ended up being perfect for the season! 

When I first read the summary of this book, I was drawn to the heroine's profession. Olivia Rawlings is a pastry chef at an exclusive Boston dinner club who sets her flambéed dessert and the entire building on fire. Her employer suggests she takes a break while the club is renovated, so she heads for a small town in Vermont. Before long, she's working as the baker of the Sugar Maple Inn. She's close to her best friend, finds the perfect place to live with her dog and meets an intriguing next door neighbor. It's nothing that she expected - but what if it's exactly what she needs?

I didn't realize it until this year, but I really enjoy chefs and food in books. And that's what made me pick this one up! I'm not a foodie, so I'll probably never gravitate toward culinary memoirs (though I do love cookbooks), but there's something so comforting about food in fiction. And honestly, this book took it to the next level! The author is a pastry chef, too, and I think that added so much depth to the descriptions. The process of baking was so lovingly described and never felt like a dry recitation of steps. Miller made me want to devour all of her heroine's creations.

If Miller bakes as beautifully as she writes about it, I can only imagine that I'd be right at home in her kitchen. There's so much to this story beyond the baking, but that was the thing I'll remember most about it. It made me so hungry while I was reading, but nothing would satisfy my craving for Olivia's apple pie. Thankfully, there's a recipe at the back of the book. I haven't made it yet because I just don't know if I'll be able to capture the magic. But it's fun to imagine it at least!

Although it's not a Christmas book, it was a perfect read during that season. There were so many lovely scenes set during the holidays in it. And what's not to love about a snowy town complete with country dances, nosy neighbors and the scent of freshly baked apple pie?! In many ways, this story relies on some common tropes -- particularly for holiday romances. For example, the big city girl finding herself out in the country is a pretty typical story on the Hallmark Channel.  But there was something comforting about the familiarity. Plus, it helped that the characters were well developed, the writing was quiet inviting and the setting made me want to back my bags and head to the woods (with a dessert, of course).

I was never super invested in the romance angle, which is really the only reason this was a solid So Enjoyed It for me rather than Loved. Overall, however, that's a pretty minor complaint for a book that made me want to snuggle up under a cozy blanket by a warm fire. I read a memoir earlier this year that reminded me that feeding people is an act of love, and this book certainly echoed that idea. Olivia's baking brings people together in the very best way, and I'm so glad Miller shared her gift with the world. I can't wait for her upcoming release, which features a diner owner!
Release Date: August 2016 | Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pamela Dorman
Pages: 352 pages | Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover 

This was my twelfth read for The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge that Alexa and I are doing in 2017! It's the perfect motivation to read books from my TBR and adds an extra dose of accountability, too. In addition to reading and reviewing one challenge book per month, we're answering three questions about each one!

1. How long has this book been on your TBR? 
I purchased it in February 2017, so it was on my TBR for a little less than a year by the time I read it.

2. What topic/element made you want to read this book? 
The fact that the heroine was a pastry chef. I love cooking and food in books!

3. Have you read other books with this topic?
I know that I have, but I'm currently drawing a blank on any specific titles. If you have recommendations, please leave a comment because I'm always on the look for a good foodie fiction book.


  1. I hadn't heard of this one before, but I just added it to my TBR! Like you, I love reading books centered around food (though I'm honestly not a very adventurous eater myself!) I love that it's another expression of creativity/art and it's fun to live vicariously through someone who can cook (I'm not much of a chef myself)!

    -Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

  2. I really like the title of this book! I do have a soft spot for books that feature food or cooking, even though I'm not so keen on cooking myself. Gonna add this to my consideration shelf for potential future reading!


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