Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Title: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Author: Amy E. Reichert
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Main Characters: Lou and Al
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
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.

My Review:
Can you judge a book by its cover? Well, in the case of this book...yes! I'm in love with this cover and I'm just as in love with the story held within.

This story is so incredibly sweet and delicious. It's one of those that I think I will re-read several times over the next few years simply because it's like a warm stew in that it's comfort food for reading. This is the PERFECT read for a rainy, chilly day snuggled under a blanket. It's just that type of book. 

At the beginning of this book, it would seem that Lou has her life together. She has a restaurant that's operating in the black after just the first year and a fiancee. Everything should be perfect, but it's she soon discovers. In a coincidence of catastrophes, Lou's world...all of it...comes crashing down. She no longer has a fiancee and after a disastrous review from an evil, mean reviewer, it's looking doubtful that she'll have her restaurant...her baby...much longer.

This is such a great story. The day that her life fell apart, Lou met Al. He was intrigued, but had no idea who she really was...the owner of Luella's...the restaurant he ended up reviewing on that fateful day. His service and food was so awful (because Lou was falling apart in the kitchen over her fiancee) that he didn't even bother coming back to check it the second time. It's not until quite a ways through the book and their romance that he realizes who she is. When they meet, her life is in such upheaval, she won't allow him to talk about their jobs, so neither knows what the other does. 

Al is a transplanted Brit who applied for his job just as a way to make it to the States. Milwaukee was not what he had in mind, so Lou takes it upon herself to show him the beauty of her town. I love food themed books for all the foodie tidbits, but this book had the added bonus as being a great tour guide for Milwaukee. I feel like I got to take a culinary tour of this overlooked town. It was fabulous. 

At the same time, I just couldn't see how this story could possibly end well. Granted, Al didn't set out to deceive Lou, but she hates that reviewer with a passion. He stole her dream. My heart aches for both of them and the set of circumstances they find themselves in. There's also some great secondary love stories going on in this book which are fantastic...Harley and Sue; the elderly couple who came every week to the restaurant. There's a great theme of love and commitment that runs through the story. I also loved John, Al's friend at the paper who writes the Style column, but dresses and looks like the Unabomber. I really, really, really hope Amy E. Reichert writes his story. He needs someone, too. I love him!!

This is an amazing debut novel and I WILL be watching this author in the future, although it will be hard to top this one. Such a good book. I definitely recommend it!!

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

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