Every now and then I have to actually go into the library and find an audio book on the shelf. This only happens when the gods of the regional libraries cargo delivery system fail to align properly and the books I’ve requested don’t appear on time. Sometimes I must actually opt for one of those horrible books on MP3 player which are fine for walking, but miserable for driving. They play fine in my car–thru my sound system even, but the controls are on the tiny player and the buttons are minuscule. I had a near death-accident with one, so I avoid them now. Happily, last week I was able to find the City Baker’s Guide to Country Living on the shelf and recorded onto cds.
Olivia, at 30-something is still wanting to be a child. No, not really a child, but a brand-new grown-up. One with money and no cares in the world. She doesn’t have much in the way of possessions so she can skip-town on a whim or in the face of trouble. She is currently the pastry chef at a prestigious members-only club for Boston’s grandest residents, and is presumably well compensated for that. She’s also won prestigious awards, and worked around the country. Her skill is unquestioned, her name on the lips of foodies galore, but she is ducking her landlord over back rent. Oh, and she’s sleeping with the club’s director who is 30+ years older. While I like older man-younger woman relationships well enough to make them the subject of my novels, I do not like them when the either party is married. Livvie is so immature she doesn’t see anything wrong with this arrangement. Finally this all comes to an end when she drops a flaming baked Alaska in the club’s dining room. Self-sabotage? No, not really. Just a Peter Pan-ish desire to not grow up in the un-fun ways. But after the fire, Livvie, being a child, runs away and hides…..
….in Vermont. Where her grown-up best friend is happily married to a small town doctor and just happens to help her get a job as pastry chef at the quaint local Inn. Livvie wins my heart by remarking that she’s looking forward to being “Auntie Mame” to her friend’s first child. There is a great second string of characters in this book who make things interesting.
Now, I’ve mad that all sound unpleasant and it really isn’t. Olivia–Livvie is a fun! Her big lummox of a dog, Salty is adorable. She lands on her feet in Vermont and immediately fits in. The sugar house she lives in (MAPLE sugar–not the Love Shack type) belongs in a shelter magazine when she adds her little touches. She begins to love life and begins to want to stick around. We discover her Dad taught her to play banjo for the old-time songs played for Contra Dancing–a type of folk dance similar to Scottish reels or Square Dancing. Music leads her to an instant rapport with a local family that provides her with great happiness until…..
…another problem emerges. During this time she remarks that another woman about her ages “looks so much like an adult….” Well, folks do at 30+. But the new problem again causes her flight reflex to kick in and she runs and hides–again, guess where? Yep, back in Boston. And back with the old guy, but guess what? He’s actually pretty helpful.
Ultimately, with support from the new small-town folks and from her grown-up best friend, Livvie learns to trust and, eventually, to stay the course. All her trials and travails lead her to a real home with real friends and real love. My kind of story!
I really enjoyed this book!! A flawed character can be very interesting when properly juxtaposed against those less and differently flawed. When actions speak louder than words trust can form and last. I highly recommend this story! And, for the record, I’m dying for some apple pie and I’d love to “spackle” some good old Boston Brown Bread with butter to go with a crock of molasses-baked beans! The food all sounded sooooooo good!!
A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
P.S. Check out the author’s fabulous Tumblr Blog!