Publisher: Penguin Audio
Genre: Chick Lit
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home—and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking.
When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.
Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.
With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.
But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.
This was a really fantastic book to listen to, I’m sure it was just as delightful to read, but there was something special about the audio version of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. The narrator was amazing, she really brought the characters to life and I can still clearly hear her melodic and pleasant voice in my head days after finishing the book.
My favorite part about this book was the gorgeous descriptions of the food that Livvy made. Louise Miller is a pastry chef and her knowledge was so very apparent as she went into great detail about several of the recipes Livvy makes and the combination of the lovely descriptions and Marie’s soothing voice was a magical combination for me.
The characterization was fantastic, Livvy was extremely well developed as was Margaret, her new boss at the Sugar Maple Inn. Dottie is Margaret’s best friend and Hannah is Livvy’s and both of them were well drawn as well. It follows Livvy’s life over the course of a year and is broken down into sections by season and by the end, I felt like I had really come to know and admire Livvy. She’s really quirky, a true individual who dies her hair every color of the rainbow depending on her mood and she plays the banjo.
This was a warm, cozy read that made me smile, but there were also tender, sad scenes that touched me as well. Miller infused plenty of humor, small town charm, and heartfelt moments into a charming story about starting fresh and learning to depend on someone besides yourself.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Blogging for Books for my review copy.