Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Summary: 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. - Gallery

Seriously, tell me the cover THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE by Amy E. Reichert isn't fantastic! I love coconut cake so this cover drew me right in, but I will admit that the storyline was appealing too. I haven't been in a reading mode lately (at all!) and I needed something light and fun. THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE was exactly what the doctor ordered!

THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE tells the story of Lou, a restaurant owner and chef, who is struggling to keep her business afloat. She works super hard at her French restaurant and almost as hard trying to keep her fiancé happy. On her fiance's birthday, she decides to surprise him with a gorgeous coconut cake only to be surprised herself when she finds him with his intern!

Needless to say, Lou is devastated and not exactly able to concentrate on her cooking duties. Unfortunately this is the day that Al, an uptight and terribly snobby food critic, appears at her restaurant to review it. Lou isn't on her game and serves him undercooked fish and burnt sauce, and her staff isn't as attentive as they should be because they were worried about Lou. The review is devastating to Lou and her struggling restaurant.

Al actually writes under a pseudonym for the local Milwaukee newspaper, so when Al and Lou meet she has no idea that he is actually the one who wrote the scathing review... and Al isn't exactly anxious to tell her. The two end up finding having some chemistry, but Lou is in no condition to jump into another relationship. Instead, she decides to give Al a series of "dates" that introduce him to the finer aspects of Milwaukee and its food.

Of course, the two eventually fall in love and the truth has to come out, right? The normal escapades associated with a secret identity occur, and the story is fairly predictable... but in a good way. THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is an entertaining love story and a great deal of fun!

Obviously, I really liked THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE, but I know what you are probably thinking. This book sounds a lot like the typical romcom book or movie. And you're right, I did recognize elements of You've Got Mail and more than a few books that I've read through the years. However, I do think THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is better than the average story. The main reason for this is that the novel really made me fall in love with Milwaukee!

I have never been to Milwaukee but it sounds like a wonderful city! The author brought this small city to life in this novel and it sounded a lot like Pittsburgh to me... and I love Pittsburgh! Her descriptions of the people and the food and the festivals were wonderful, and in many ways, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE was a beautiful tribute to a city that's obviously near and dear to the author's heart.

I think many people would enjoy this sweet and fun book, and therefore, I do think it would make a good book club selection. There is a reading guide available with twelve interesting questions along with some ideas to enhance your book club experience. Some of the themes you might want to explore include change, trust, forgiveness, second chances, the role of negative press, and the role of food. Of course, the author also included a recipe for coconut cake so you'd just have to serve that at your meeting!

Overall, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE was a cute read that I enjoyed very much! Definitely recommended for fans of sweet romances and chick lit!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

The storyline did sound somewhat familiar but, sometimes, that's exactly what I need. This sounds really cute!

Beth F said...

I have a copy of this and just haven't gotten to it. I bet it'd be perfect for me right now. I need light and fun.

Mrs. Melissa said...

I just checked this out from the library and love it! And I can vouch for Milwaukee: spent 4 years at Wisconsin Lutheran College :) You can't miss the zoo, museums (especially the domes!), the frozen custard (Kopp's RULES) and the lakefront (if you love music, you'll love Summerfest!)