I hope my US readers had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. I have a lot to be grateful for and enjoyed the quiet moments we were able to find this past week.
I am excited to share a review today of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert. I discovered this book from a fellow book blogger (if that was you, please comment below!). It was a delightful story celebrating the power of food and the importance of second chances.
- I now want to visit Milwaukee and experience it’s food scene — the Italia fest and Irish fest and deep fried cheese curds and fine french food and custard and tailgating and everything. I want to experience it all!
- I actually made the recipe for coconut cake (found in the back of the book) and it was really good! The coconut frosting is especially yummy.
Book Summary: “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.“
I loved Lou as the protagonist. As a chef, she impressed me with how she is so hard working and dedicated to her craft. Loved all her recipes and her love of food. I want to check out the Milwaukee food scene because of her passion! She felt so real and relatable — raw emotions in difficult times and open about her struggles. I was impressed by her courage and loved how she finds family with Gertrude and Otto and with her friends at the restaurant. Her ending journey is beautiful as she is able to see herself as capable and worth it in the end
Al was a delight to read about. His journey is a big one throughout the book, and it just makes him more endearing. He begins as a jerk and thinks he is above this town and its food and people. He writes reviews that he hopes will ruin people. He can’t find anything he likes — food, locations, or people. Then he meets Lou and everything changes. Seeing him experience food and places with her is so fun. I loved how he shifts his perspective and acknowledges his mistakes when they come out. And his writing is fun to read!
Their romance is steamy and so satisfying. They have about 3 almost first kisses with the tension and passion rising before someone interrupts them. The moment when Al knocks on her door and says “I’m right for you, Lou” is so magical and perfect. The first scene doesn’t “fade to black” as quickly as I would like but it isn’t too descriptive. Their love is so beautiful because they build each other up and help each other love life, food, and dreams more. They are the best version of themselves together. It was so beautiful.
There are so many clever elements in this book that made it easy to love. As always, I loved the dual perspectives and seeing the scenes from alternating views. Both were very well done and I liked getting their histories and understand how they got to this point in their lives. This whole story is set up with a great coincidence of events. She has the worst day of her life. He writes a bad review. And they meet and fall in love. Its a fun premise! Also loved the focus on second chances and finding happiness and meaning. I enjoyed the celebration of Milwaukee and loving where you live.
This was such a fun, delicious novel. The romance was lovely (maybe a bit less clean than I prefer). The food and characters were so fun! Spoilers ahead: I just wish the secret coming out had been different. It was held over our heads for most of the book and felt so intense at the end. Also I would have liked an epilogue with a glimpse into Lou’s success with her second restaurant and maybe a few wedding details as well. Overall, really enjoyed this one!
What foodie books have you enjoyed?
Any books set in surprising locations that you now want to visit?