☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 5-stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••
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.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert is a rich and delicious romantic comedy. It is a fun, engaging read.
Lou is a quirky, upbeat chef/restaurant owner. Her restaurant is starting to take off despite her fiance’s, Devlin, lack of support. Speaking of Devlin, besides not supporting Lou’s dreams, he is scheming and controlling. He is the sort of character that you love to hate and to whom you never give the benefit of doubt. Al is an English journalist who has had to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in order to follow his dream of being a restaurant critic. He starts off as a curmudgeon who takes out his unhappiness on restaurants. His co-worker, John, is a caveman-looking couture reporter who provides Al with some friendship and a dose of common sense. Critical supporting players who add to the main characters’ development as well as the story progression are developed, but I could have used more information and story line on a couple of them (namely Sue and Harley). Finally, there is Milwaukee. That’s right, the city is featured upfront and deserves recognition as a character!
A series of coincidences lead Al and Lou to meet and become friends. Their work life is an off-limits topic as Lou sets out to grow Al’s appreciation for Milwaukee. If you’re familiar with Milwaukee, you’ll appreciate all the food, place and event references. Mentions of frozen custard, fried cheese curds and Summerfest brought back fond memories for me. If you aren’t familiar with the city, Amy Reichert’s book will make you want to visit.
I loved how Al’s and Lou’s characters developed and grew throughout the story. It was a refreshing change to have love interests start out as friends instead of falling instantly in love and into bed. They both feel their budding attraction is one-sided, and of course, it is not. Beyond the humor, there is emotional depth. Al has already fallen for Lou when he figures out that she owns a restaurant that he has reviewed. Plot tension builds as readers anticipate when and how Lou will find out about this deception. No spoilers, but I will tell you it is well done. Books don’t often bring me to tears, but I did get a little misty-eyed at one point while reading The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.
What happens when you receive devastating news on the same day your restaurant is being reviewed? You get The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. A great book and a mouthwatering recipe.