A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, April 20, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert -Feature and Review

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 CakeThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert is a 2015 Gallery Books publication.

These types of stories are just plain good for the soul!!

Here, we meet Elizabeth, “Lou” Johnson, a chef, who is running a struggling French restaurant, lovingly named after her favorite grandmother. She's also engaged to an ambitious, career driven, attorney who believes Lou will give up her dreams of being a successful chef and restaurant owner once they are married.

Al, who is originally from Britain, but staying in Milwaukee, is a food critic writing for the local newspaper under a pseudonym. So far, Al's column is creating a big buzz due his scathing reviews, which so far has caused more than one establishment to close it's doors. ( Note: not all reviewers and critics are evil, mean, and nasty- 😊)

Then he gets a tip about Luella's and decides to check it out. Well, as it so happens he chose the worst day imaginable for Lou. It goes without saying his review was perhaps his most damning one to date. But, fate has a wry sense of humor sometimes....

Lou and Al meet, hit it off, and begin falling in love, as Lou takes Al on a fabulous tour of Milwaukee. Little does she know that Al is the infamous critic who took her restaurant down, and Al was equally unaware that Lou was the owner of Louella's.... at least at first.

This theme will of course put one in mind of “You've got Mail”  and employs the familiar romantic comedy format, which is tried and true, just not that original.

However, the characters are just so fabulous! The food, and the city of Milwaukee are like secondary characters. Who knew how interesting Milwaukee could be?
This book will have you thinking about planning a vacation around the area, maybe with this book as a quasi tour guide.

The real secondary characters are simply outstanding, as well.  John, Harley, Gertrude, and Otto round out the cast giving the story an added touch of sentimentality and humor, and occasionally they steal the show.

Second chances is the main theme of the book, with Lou and Al both getting a “do over.” We all need a second chance in life at some time and while Lou definitely deserved to get her footing back, Al's chance comes from Lou's ability to forgive and forget, giving them both a new lease on life, and what could mean more to someone than that?

A lump might grow in your throat a time or two, but by the time you turn the last page you will have a full heart and a smile on your face. Oh... and that coconut cake? Well, there is a scrumptious recipe included in the back of the book you simply must try! YUM!



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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake


Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

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