Published by Gallery Books on 21st July 2015
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
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.
Reviewed by Kelly
*eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley*
A book about food that’s not a recipe book? A book about food that also has a story? YES PLEASE! I’m a HUGE lover of food (my waistline bears the evidence!) and obviously a HUGE lover of books and reading. When I saw a book that combined both of those things, I KNEW I had to read it.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is the debut novel from Amy E. Reichert. The “about me” section on her author website says that she’s from Wisconsin, the same state that TCoCC is set, and it shows. As I read, I could feel the love that Amy has for her state. The virtual tour of Milwaukee’s food scene, along with Lou’s recipes, had my mouth watering and my stomach rumbling as I read and fell in love with Lou and Al.
Now, aside from all the food talk, there was actually a story (easy to forget with all the tempting recipes, I know!) and it was pretty damn lovely to read. Lou was engaged to Devlin. Devlin was an arse and it was his way or the highway. He saw Lou as a possession, someone he could mould in to the perfect seen-but-not-heard, and definitely not a working woman, attorney’s wife. Lou saved herself the morning she walked in on him in his undies, while his intern was in the silk robe that he’d bought for Lou. She unknowingly freed herself up to slowly fall in love with Al Waters, an Englishman in Milwaukee who was quickly making enemies, thanks to his reviews of Milwaukee’s eateries under the pseudonym of A.J. Wodyski. The same A.J. Wodyski who reviewed Luella’s, Lou’s restaurant, the same day she caught Devlin doing the dirty. It’s all a recipe (see what I did there?!) for disaster once the truth comes out.
I loved Lou. I loved her resilience, I loved her spirit, and I loved how she cared about her “family” – the people who mattered most to her in the world. Her relationship with Otto and Gertrude may or may not have brought a tear or two to my eyes!
Al. I loved Al, too. With him, I fell in love with the fact that he allowed himself to feel things. He mellowed as his relationship with Lou grew in to something special. He became a nicer person, he softened, and I really liked how he started to let John in and allowed himself to have a friend, someone to talk to. I think he and John both needed that. I did not agree with what he planned to do, however! Bad Al, bad!
And the last few words reluctantly go to Devlin. Ugh. I know I was supposed to dislike him but I REALLY disliked him! And those are all the words I’m willing to use for him!
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was an enjoyable read, just don’t read it before you’ve eaten – you’ll probably end up with a list of stuff to make bigger than you can handle!