Monday, July 20, 2015

From Scratch by Rachel Goodman

Title: From Scratch
Author: Rachel Goodman
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Main Characters: Lillie and Nick
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Pocket
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
A down-home, feel-good debut Southern romance, From Scratch explores one woman’s journey back home to Dallas, Texas, where her family is cooking up a plan that doesn’t quite suit her tastes…

Thirty-year-old Lillie Turner grew up with maple syrup stuck to her skin and bacon grease splattered on her clothes, courtesy of working in the family diner. Thank goodness she escaped all that when she moved to Chicago five years ago. Now a successful strategy consultant and newly engaged to a man who complements her like biscuits and gravy, she has everything she wants.

When an urgent phone call about her father’s health pulls Lillie back to Dallas, she soon learns it was a ruse to bring her home so she can run the diner she’d rather avoid and compete in the Upper Crust, an annual baking competition, with no option to withdraw. Lillie is furious and ready to run back to Chicago, but her father’s haggard appearance makes her wonder if he’s hiding something. Things go from bad to worse when Nick, her handsome ex and the only man she ever truly loved, reappears, looking as scrumptious as ever.

Lillie’s trip home forces her to question the path she’s chosen, find her place in the family she abandoned, and wonder if the life she left behind is what she wants after all.

My Review:
New author. New book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but wow this book shocked me with just how much I really, really enjoyed it. 

This is a story about a second chance at love (I do really enjoy those.) In this one, something happened between Nick and Lillie five years ago that made her leave everything behind in Dallas and flee to Chicago. Now she's been forced back to Dallas by her father. He's pretty much tricked her to get her there. 

Throughout a lot of the book, it's obvious that Lillie is missing a lot of the details about what's going on. That in itself made me turn the pages on my kindle faster and faster, but there's also the question of what exactly happened to send her fleeing. That's a mystery for a long time throughout the reading of the book and I'm telling you that technique worked for me. I was DYING to know the details. 

Lillie has a good life in Chicago. She works hard--is up for partner-- and has a great fiance. She left so much behind and worked hard to recover from that loss. And this is the detail that dropped this book down from a 5 star read to a 4 star read. Everyone is keeping secrets from her...everyone. They blame her for leaving and all hold her responsible for the aftermath. BUT after hearing what drove her to leave, I don't think that was fair. The things she gave up were used as weapons against her. Of course, she left that world. Nick devastated her and while he admits that he's to blame, too, it never felt like she was given enough credit for rebuilding her life...just because it didn't fit the parameters for those who loved her thought her life should be. That left me feeling really dissatisfied. I feel like there should have been a big blowup between Nick and her so that everyone would have known exactly what happened. Yes, he was left devastated and shattered after she left, but he holds some responsibility for that, too. 

But despite my issue with that, this book was so, so good. It was deeply emotional and completely riveting. I fell in love with the story, felt Lillie's betrayal deeply (see above...she was such an empathetic character...I never would have gotten that worked up over most characters/story lines.) There were great little details throughout the story. I enjoyed the nights out with the band, could feel the pain that pertained to Lillie's high school rival and how she fits in their lives. There were scenes with Nick that left me with tears in my eyes. 

I still feel like Lillie needed something a little bit more in understanding from the people who love her, but that's because I loved her character so much. It was a good book. I need it in print!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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