Friday, March 18, 2016

Amy E. Reichert - The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake

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.

Comment: I got this book after I saw a friend at GR had it in her TBR and by the blurb it seemed intriguing. This month I've decided to buddy read it with a friend and I really couldn't put it down, so I already finished and she's still reading. Nevertheless, this is a cute contemporary romance and I feel very glad I was ale to read and enjoy it.

In this book we have Lou's story and it starts with her making a coconut cake for her fiancé (although she's not really feeling the connection with him anymore) but when she surprises him, she's the one who gets the bigger surprise when she finds an intern from his lawyer offices there, half naked.
She obviously gets emotional and shocked but she works as a chef and that night she decides to cook because it's her job and she still can't understand what happened.
Precisely that night, Al Walters, a British man who has a pseudonym as a renowned cruel food and restaurant critic, eats there and doesn't get a good service and then writes a terrible review that sunks Lou's restaurant.
At the same time, Lou and Al meet by chance and somehow they start going out out of friendship but then their relationship evolves...but what will happen when both find out they're dating the person they  thought would never get in their way?

I was very motivated to read this story, it's quite entertaining and told in a very simple way, without too many exaggerated details or not enough description, I think it's was mostly told in the right way. I think some passages had an overdue of explanations or settings that were supposed to give us an idea of everything but sometimes it wasn't that captivating.
But I think the author did well with the pace and simplicity of the story because I wanted to keep reading and always found reasons to do it.

In fact, this is the first book by this author I try and it was a positive one to me. I think the research is there, she gives the idea she knows what she's speaking about and all the different things addressed with a certain importance seem believable (the chef work, how to write to a newspaper, the knowledge of food and clothes, for instance).
Even details related to the secondary characters seemed to have an important role, even if small and that helped the reader to form a more precise idea about everyone.

Lou is the main character and she is the one that goes through the most changes. Still, the path wasn't all good and despite a new relationship and solid friendships, I felt for her because she had her dream and because of one mistake, things went wrong. Even though things weren't her fault, she still felt bad - which is understandable - but then she revealed her strength and tried her best to find solutions. I appreciate that a lot, she is a very  conscious and motivated person and very likable.
Al has a secret and obviously that influences the way he behaves, the things he shares with Lou... I can't say I didn't like him, from an outsider POV it can look like his actions were cowardice but I know it's not easy to assume mistakes done or things that you should have done better. Still, after he finds out, it seemed too much time went until he acted on it.

In a way, this is one of the most obvious less good things, the amount of time and situations that happened which prevented them to find out who the other one was for such a long time. It seems difficult to accept so many coincidences would stop them from knowing what was in front of them. Personally it felt like a comedy of errors, but it seems the author's intention was to give us a serious series of coincidence events. I can understand that some readers could consider this too bland overall, but I had more fun than regrets reading, so it's a positive experience for me.

I liked the tone of this novel, the way the author showed important things but didn't linger on unnecessary scenes and how small things like Lou's dreams and possible future actions will allow her to be the person she always wanted to be. And we even have a HEA and a recipe at the end of the book.
To me this is positive, despite some minor less than good details.
Grade: 8/10

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