Monday, 19 January 2015

The Art of Baking Blind

Author: Sarah Vaughn
Genre: Modern Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
Source: Local Public Library
Pages: 406
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
First Published: July 2014
First Line: "April 1964 - Imagine your perfect home; a gamekeeper's lodge or rambling farmhouse, the walls wreathed in wisteria, brick warmed by the sun."

Book Description from GoodReads:  There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved.

In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.

Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her fa├žade shouldn't slip.

As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life.

My Review: It shouldn't come as a shock that I picked up this book.  First off, the cover was beautiful (I adore teal) and it caught my attention right away.  Second, it's about baking, y'all!  I thought this book was a no-brainer for me but unfortunately I found this book lacking in a few areas.

The book deals with five competitors as they try to win a coveted British baking competition.  The problem was that I had a hard time remembering who was who among the competitors - except for the one male competitor, Mike who was barely in the story at all and was only viewed through the eyes of the four female competitors.  It got so bad that I actually had to write a cheat sheet listing each of the four female characters and their characteristics/issues so I could keep track of them.  Not a good sign.  With all this energy being used to remember characters it shouldn't come as a surprise that I didn't get attached to any of them.

While I did love that baking was the connection between the main characters, sadly one cannot live on descriptions of delicious cupcakes alone.  The depictions of delicious baked goods and baking techniques was interesting but the plot and characters fell flat for me and didn't develop as much as I would have hoped.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book.  While it's filled with descriptions of interesting baking techniques and treats, the low energy, lackluster characters and predictable plot left me hungry for a lot more from this author.

My Rating: 2/5 stars

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