Tuesday, February 4, 2014
When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflé with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.
With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a “my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of forty-four, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live. -- Berkley
You may or may not have noticed that I haven't been reading or posting as much in the past few months. I initially blamed some stuff going on in my personal life and then I used the holidays as an excuse, and both of those things were true. However, I'm finding that I'm still having a hard time carving out time for reading and writing lately. I can't seem to focus on anything and, as a result, I'm in a pretty major reading slump for me.
I really haven't been in the mood for anything heavy so I decided that a lighter, more fun book might be the answer. So I picked up SWEET NOTHINGS by Janis Thomas. I would classify this novel as mom lit (as opposed to chick lit), and baking was a major theme. For a foodie like me, I figured all of the talk about cakes and decorating couldn't hurt either. For the most part, I was right. SWEET NOTHINGS was a cute escape read that definitely lightened my spirits.
SWEET NOTHINGS tells the story of Ruby McMillan, a 43 year old wife and mom, who wakes up one morning to discover that her husband of eighteen years is leaving her for another woman. (And it's not a significantly younger or more attractive woman either!) Not only does he leave with virtually no explanation or even a goodbye to his two teenage kids, he also leaves Ruby with a financial mess. The mortgage is unpaid, the bank accounts are cleared, and her bakery is floundering!
While Ruby's life is falling apart in many ways, she realizes that she never loved her husband like he needed her to. This valuable information helps Ruby to move forward and do what she has to to protect her family and her bakery. She turns over a new leaf appearance-wise and even begins teaching a cake decorating class (a huge step for someone with a major fear of public speaking!) In addition, she meets a very sexy mortgage broker that causes her to reevaluate everything she's ever thought she's known about love and passion.
SWEET NOTHINGS is a very fun story about love and second chances. The characters were very likable (except for the husband!), and I especially liked Ruby. She had lived her life in a practical manner and thought everything was just fine -- she was happy enough, right? But she later learns that sometimes letting go and allowing her emotions to take over just might let her experience true happiness. It was a sweet message and one that resonated with me because I tend to be more practical than happy-go-lucky!
It's probably not a big surprise that SWEET NOTHINGS is fairly predictable. Having said that, given the tone and message of this novel, I wouldn't have been too happy if it didn't have a fairytale ending. Needless to say, I wasn't really surprised by any of the events in this story but I still found the characters and their actions to be entertaining. I think that's a credit to the author who managed to infuse so much humor and wit into the plot.
SWEET NOTHINGS would make a fun book club pick if your group is looking for something a little lighter. Since baking is a major theme in the story, you could do a lot with the food and drink served at the meeting! There is a reading guide with fifteen questions that will stimulate your discussion; however, I have a feeling that most groups could find plenty to discuss on their own. Some of the themes you might want to explore include parenting, marriage, love, friendship, fears, second chances, and redemption.
Overall, I thought SWEET NOTHINGS was a fun read. Recommended for fans of mom lit and women's fiction!
Thanks to FSB Associates for providing a review copy of this novel.