What it’s all about:
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.
Book provided by Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
When I first spotted this book on Netgalley, I was so drawn to the cover that I just HAD to read it. The pull was too great to pass up and I hoped and prayed that I would have the privilege of being sent this….and thankfully, I was.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is about the delightful Elizabeth – known as Lou to everyone she meets – who owns a French restaurant named Luella, after her grandmother. We meet her at a point where she is still with her extremely unpleasant fiance just before his birthday and he continues to play a role throughout the book. I won’t lie, I was thrilled that his true colours were revealed resulting in poor Lou breaking up with him after she finds him with another woman on his birthday. She had even made him cake too! What a giant douche. He does, in fact, play quite a key role in the book too, but I refuse to give any spoilers.
On alternate chapters, we get to know Al. Al Waters is an undercover food critic who has moved to Milwaukee to do his bit, review a few restaurants and get the hell out of there. He makes no secret of the fact he is not a fan and clearly wants to be anywhere but Milwaukee. However, when his path crosses with Lou’s in a bar just after she has one of the worst weeks of her life, he wonders whether the city has a bit more to offer than he originally thought.
I really enjoyed watching the two become close, Lou’s vibrant personality shone through and her warm, positive attitude made her a delight to read about and you really do want to see her succeed. She was so full of life and such a kind hearted, good natured person that I was quite sad she wasn’t real; she is someone I would love as a friend! I sound quite gushy now but I can’t say enough great things about her.
As Lou and Al grew closer though, I inwardly cringed and winced every time a passing comment was made about their jobs, but as both were adamant that they wouldn’t discuss work when they were together, the timebomb kept on ticking. The day Al found out who Lou was, my heart literally ached for him. Over the course of the year, as he has grown to know and enjoy Lou’s company, he has become a better person. He no longer writes so scathingly about the restaurants he visits, his appreciation for Milwaukee has grown as Lou rose to the challenge of showing him the best of her fair town, and you just know that the moment she finds out he was the reason that she had to give up on the dream she has fought so hard for, the dream that has been destroyed by him and him alone, that her world will unravel at a great speed. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries to protect her from the truth, even resorting to having his newspaper print a story about the death of his alias, he cannot escape what he has done.
Although the story focuses on these wonderful and very realistic characters, it also has a brilliant collection of secondary characters that can’t help but smile at when they come onto the page. The way each person is written made The Coincidence of Coconut Cake such a great read that I read it in 2 sittings; on the way to a concert, and then on the return journey. Once I started the book, I didn’t want to put it down. Something about it just made you feel like you were wrapped in a giant blanket, snuggled up in a chair with a hot beverage getting completely lost in their world. It also made me want to visit Milwaukee!
If you’re a fan of a good old-fashioned romance that has you holding your breath in parts, makes you melt in others, has you salivating at the delicious food and even contains a bonus recipe for the coconut cake in question (which I actually made and it was DIVINE!) then The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is definitely for you.
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