Working my way through 3 reading challenges this year. Normally, I would question my own sanity for thinking that signing up for more than 1 reading challenge was a good idea. But like I explained in January’s Sentence a Day post, here, I kind of prophesied my way into broken foot. And all of a sudden, I have loads of time to read!! So this month I will be reviewing at least two books.
How to Bake a Perfect Life
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal was the book I chose for the “Book by Book” challenge January prompt “something cozy”. Linking-up with Kristen over at Taz & Belly for today’s review.
In order to find a cozy book, I searched Goodreads and Amazon for books with themes described as ‘loving’ and ‘warm’. Goodreads summarized it this way:
In a novel as warm and embracing as a family kitchen, Barbara O’Neal explores the poignant, sometimes complex relationships between mothers and daughters—and the healing magic of homemade bread.
In my mind, kitchens and the smell of homemade bread baking are certainly cozy.
- Format read: Audible (listened to)
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio, July 25, 2013
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553386778
- Goodreads Average Customer Review:
- Amazon Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
From Booklist: “O’Neal’s third novel is, like its predecessors (The Lost Recipe for Happiness, 2008; The Secret of Everything, 2010), a dramatic, emotional story with honest characters and a warm heart at its center.” [source]
From Publishers Weekly: “O’Neal’s tale of strong-willed women and torn family loyalties is a cut above the standard women’s fiction fare, held together by lovingly sketched characters and real emotion.” [source]
An unforgettable novel that celebrates food, family, and the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters. Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build. [source]
Yeah. The. One. The one you’ve been waiting for. The one you want. The one from every song ever sung about love.
I selected this book to fit the bill for Kristen’s “Book by Book” reading challenge prompt “a book that is cozy”. The word ‘bake’ in the title made me feel cozy, in addition to the image of the pup on the cover and the woman – our main character, Ramona – in an apron with a mixing spoon. Kitchens and baking and puppies are pretty cozy to my way of thinking.
This is Ramona’s story. A struggling mom, daughter, granddaughter and entrepreneur whose bakery is on the brink of insolvency. While life has never been easy for Ramona, bread baking has been one constant that has led her out of dark times in the past. With the possibility of losing her bake shop, every aspect of her life is on tilt.
O’Neal creates believable, relatable relationships among all of the female characters of this book and the struggles each has faced and is facing as the story unfolds. Tips for maintaining a sourdough bread starter and recipes for bread are interspersed throughout. Toward the end of reading How to Bake a Perfect Life, I baked one of my best loaves of bread using our family’s 100 year old sourdough starter. Thank you, Barbara!
Have you read a book that would qualify as ‘cozy’? If, so let me know in a comment below. What made it that way? This genre, this book are really removed from my usual preference of historical fiction, especially those set during World War II. But it was a good diversion. And there were some crazy parallels to my life. Part of the story is set in El Paso! With mention of Ft. Bliss where PC works. And one of the secondary characters is a soldier in Afghanistan, where my daughter’s fiance is from. Then the whole sourdough yeast starter. I could relate to the catharsis of caring for the yeast, baking the bread, working out life while kneading the dough. This month’s “Book by Book” prompt is ‘love/romance’.
Stay tuned for another book review later this month. My answer to January’s prompt ‘activism’ for the “Book Girl Magic Reading Challenge”.
In February, we are reading a ‘black history best seller’. Enjoying the title I picked!
Thank you for coming by girls. Gets kinda lonely being home day after day, not able to do a lot of the things I like to do. I always look forward to your visits.
Hugs and kisses,