My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Goodreads Average Rating: 3.7 / 5
This book was as delightful as the dessert it hails. Reichert drew me into this story from page one with engaging characters, a charming setting, and mouth-watering descriptions of food. As a foodie at heart, this book was total guilty pleasure reading for me. The love story was wonderful, but the dinner scenes were better. I tucked this book into my beach bag for a bit of lazy vacation reading and it was the perfect fit. If you are in the mood for something that will leave you feeling warm and cozy, but craving cheese and truffle oil, this is your perfect match.
The story is set in Milwaukee with the newly opened restaurant, Luella’s, as the main back drop. Lou, owner and chef of Luella’s, can finally start to see her dreams of restaurant success coming true. Everything is going perfectly until one fateful day when it all falls apart. Lou goes into work broken-hearted and cooks the worst meal of her life – the meal that just happens to be for Milwaukee’s most notorious food critic, A.W. Wodoyski. The review he leaves is enough to sink her restaurant. The same day the review is published Lou meets Al. But Al is hiding a secret…he is A.W. Wodoyski. The two start falling in love but what will happen when Lou learns Al was the hand that destroyed her dreams?
I think I gained weight just reading this book. No, seriously. I would read a chapter and then suddenly have a hankering for popcorn and chardonnay (a personal favorite combination). When I finished this book I was convinced Amy E. Reichert must be a professional chef who just dabbles in writing delicious chick lit, so I hopped on google and looked it up. Nope. Her bio says she is an “amateur chef” but trust me, there is nothing amateur about her knowledge of food. You’ve been warned; don’t start this book with bare cupboards.
I need to go to Milwaukee. That is a phrase I never thought I’d utter until reading this book. The story is as much a love song to Milwaukee as it is a romantic comedy. I loved going exploring with the two main characters and learning about the unique culture of Milwaukee. I’ve already brought up the potential of traveling there to my husband a handful of times since reading this. Reichert could have just as easily worked in tourism as she could have the food industry. Neither would have shocked me.
The characters are wonderful and well-developed, even the side characters. I hate when a book has weak, unforgettable side characters. That is never a problem in this book. I adored both of the protagonists, but my favorite characters were the old couple who are frequent customers at Luella’s. They were so sweet and their love for each other was absolutely perfect. They were the picture of “growing old together.” I also loved Al’s co-worker, the sloppily dressed style expert and Lou’s pastry chef, with his intimidating and tattooed outer core but his sweet, gooey center. This is definitely a character driven novel which tend to be my favorite.
From the beginning, the story is predictable. Honestly, the predictability didn’t bother me as much as it could in other stories. I found the plot satisfying, even if I saw where it was going from page one. It’s like your favorite rom-com chick flick. You know the couple will eventually get in a fight when secrets are revealed, but in the end all will be forgiven. And you’re ok knowing that because it’s a comforting formula guaranteed to make you smile. That is this book. You can clearly see where things are headed with her fiance. You can clearly see Al’s secret will be revealed and ruin everything. But you also know it’s only a matter of time before love wins out in the end. The predictability factor is what dropped this book to four stars for me, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book.
Basically, if you like good food and you like a sweet love story, go read this. You’ll thank me later.