Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller – Book Details
TITLE – The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living
AUTHOR – Louise Miller
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2016
PAGE COUNT – 352
MY RATING – 2.5 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 3.81 of 5
What It Is About
“I might have escaped the pressures of growing up in a large family, but I suspected that there were some things you could learn only from living with parents whose love was an active, living thing.”
Olivia Rawlings is a big-city pastry chef who, after a disaster at work, needs a change in life. She switches an exclusive Boston dinner club she worked at for a cozy, homey Sugar Maple Inn in an idyllic little town in Vermont.
Life in Vermont is utterly different than the one in Boston, and Olivia finds herself enjoying it more and more. And when a local Martin McCracken comes back home from Seattle, she even starts considering never leaving Vermont again.
But a few unexpected turns threaten to shatter to pieces the comforting, peaceful little life Olivia started to build for herself. And she is not the only one who will have to decide what she really wants in life and how far she will go to get it.
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller – My Review
Morning glories, now dozing for the day, climbed up the side of the barn. Rocking chairs were lined up on the porch. The front yard was scattered with garden benches and sleeping cats. To my right was a wooden rail fence, and beyond it a ridge of mountains with the steeple-dotted valley below.
Ok, let’s just cut to the chase – I found this book quite disappointing.
My hopes were probably set too high, as a couple of people recommended it to me, plus I found it on several autumn book recommendation lists. The description promised an adorable cozy read. And it’s compared to Gilmore Girls on the cover.
Now, I don’t know what you expect a cozy autumnal Gilmore-Girls-like read to be like, but for me this wasn’t it. But there were a few good aspects of this book, so I’ll just quickly go through what I found to be its strongest and weakest points.
Here we go…
What I liked about The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living:
- Autumn – though the story spans over several months, all the way to July, plus a one-year-later epilog chapter, I enjoyed the most the descriptions of the first portion of the book, when Olivia just moved to Vermont. Those parts were actually kind of perfect for early fall reading.
- Vermont – what I consider to be amongst the prettiest places on this planet. It is not unheard of me checking out a book or a movie only because it’s set in Vermont. I just can’t get enough of it; if I could move there tomorrow, I wouldn’t even stop to think about it.
- Cooking & baking – the way I see a perfect autumnal read – food doesn’t have to play a huge part in it, but extra points if it does. So a story set in a cozy restaurant in a rustic inn where apple pie contest is considered one of the main yearly events… That’s autumn for me.
- The cabin – when Olivia moves to this little town, she moves into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property. The woodstove, the tub in the middle of the room, the rustic feel of the place, lots of windows looking at orchard covered hills… I just… What’s the shortest way to get there?
- Salty – of course there had to be a dog in this story. And I love dogs, and I love reading about them, and this one was quite adorable. So yep, loved that part.
- The festivities and traditions – the Thanksgiving, first snow sleigh ride, making a gingerbread house… More atmosphere, more charm.
- The winning pie recipe – haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like it’s going to be a good one.
What I didn’t like about The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living:
- The main character having an affair with a married man. I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t get past it. I tried not to judge too much, but this book made it too easy. And to think that then she complained when someone else didn’t tell her the whole truth… Though most of the book was ok, this whole thing completely ruined it for me.
- There was one other trope that was just – why? One of the few I really hate. But it’s a spoiler, so I won’t say here what it was.
- The music element – it was an overkill. There were already too many components in this book, and more than one of them could have used a bit more space. The band – it was just too much.
- The storytelling – now, this one’s not all bad; lots of it had been done quite well. But it also had some really bad moments. Like really poor, amateurish, why-am-I-even-reading-this moments.
- The story didn’t have strong enough plot points (well, it did, but not well developed ones) to be considered anything but a romance. Yet, Olivia spent more time with any other character than with the love interest. She even spent more time on her own than with him. So it wasn’t even very romantic.
- The characters were… nothing special. They were either bland and forgettable, or a mix of meh and unlikable. I already started forgetting them.
And that’s it from me. I really thought I’d be adding The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living to My Favorite Autumnal Reads list. But all things considered, I don’t think I will be recommending it on this blog.
However, keep in mind that this is only my own personal experience with this book. If it still sounds interesting to you, don’t let my review stop you from checking it out. You never know, it might turn out to be just what you’ve been looking for.