Published by Gallery Books on July 21st 2015
Genres: General, Love & Romance
Format: ARC, digital ARC
Buy on Amazon
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 struggled with rating The Coincidence of Coconut Cake because my opinion depends on how I categorize the book.
Travel Guide: 4 teacups
Food & Nutrition: 3 teacups
Chic Lit: 2.5 teacups
Romance: 2 teacups
Writing: 2 teacups
Coconut Cake Recipe: 4 teacups
I have never had a desire to visit Milwaukee – ever – until now. The author does an excellent job of making Lou seem like the reader’s eager personal tour guide. I was just as enthralled as Al with the local attractions, customs, and cuisine. The food – oh my gosh, the food – sounded amazing! I was constantly hungry while reading this book. However, for me, the most successful romance in this story was between me and the food.
I don’t require a lot of heat in my romances but I need a little spark. The writing is so cliché I didn’t even get a flicker.
His deft hands traced the path up her legs, circling slowly, as if polishing a precious stone.
Speaking of stone, there’s this gem:
Using her thumb as if she were opening a mussel, Lou popped the box open.
There’s a lot of talk about feelings in this book and not enough demonstration of honest emotions. Al and Lou spend a day together every couple weeks and the time in between is largely glossed over. The result is a somewhat choppy feel to the chapters and although both characters are likeable, my investment in them as a couple was delayed. There’s more chemistry in the humorous bromance between Al and John than the romance between Al and Lou.
The story itself is sweet but slow and extremely predictable, with the exception of one small twist at the end. Thank goodness for that coconut cake recipe at the end because it bumped up my rating to 3 teacups. Then again, you can easily find a good recipe on Google so make that 2.5 teacups.
** ARC received in exchange for an honest review. **