A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Late Bloomer's Club by Louise Miller- Feature and Review


A delightful novel about two headstrong sisters, a small-town's efforts to do right by their community, and the power of a lost dog to conjure up true love

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her younger, free-spirited sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.

Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker needs to generate funding for her latest project, and is particularly keen when they find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.

Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn't quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. 
Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on--finding Peggy's missing dog, Freckles.

When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams.



The Late Bloomers' ClubThe Late Bloomers' Club by Louise Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller is a 2017 Pamela Dorman Books publication.

A Charming story about friends, family, small- town secrets and the bonds of community-

I love stories centered around small towns. The characters tend to be a little quirky, and the secrets are usually a lot juicier!! Not only that, the sense of community, as trying at it can be at times, often reminds me of how rewarding small- town life can be.

This story has all those lovely qualities and is the sort of story that can sand away life’s hard edges for a while. These types of books are good for the soul, and I think everyone should take a break from dark and heavy books every now and then to indulge in something a little fluffy and sweet.

For Nora, life has always been centered around the diner she inherited from her parents. She’s content- or thinks she is. She hasn’t known anything more or different and she’s comfortable doing what she knows. But, when Peggy, the town’s ‘cake lady’, dies in a terrible car accident, and Peggy’s dog, Freckles’ who was in the car at the time, disappears, it sets off a domino effect for Nora and the entire community.

Peggy, a single woman, with no close friends or relatives, left her land, home, and business to Nora and to Nora’s unsettled sister, Kit. It also comes to light that Peggy was selling her land in increments and was thinking of selling everything lock, stock and barrel to a big box store corporation.

With the sell now hanging in the balance, Nora is under pressure to make a choice that will best benefit the town. With Kit being part of the equation, Nora must also cope with her feel wheeling sister, who has no real conception of the sacrifices her sister has made for her, and continues to remain very self-absorbed. Naturally, Kit needs money and plans to vote in favor of the big box development.

In the meantime, as Nora delves more into Peggy’s life and estate, she discovers a few long -buried secrets about the cake lady and many hidden treasures on her estate, making Nora feel even more sentimental about the land. Complicating matters further, the man representing the big box store, happens to be a very nice person, one Nora finds herself attracted to.

There is something a bit whimsical about this story. I loved the way the town kept their eye out for Freckles, the way the debate over allowing the big box store felt so authentic, and of course, I also loved the focus on sisterly bonds and the importance of family and community. Peggy’s story, which appears to run in the background is also significant. While Nora feels her life is far from exciting, she is not impulsive, and hasn't pursued big pipe dreams, or lived by the seat of her pants like Kit, her loyalty to the town, the friends and family she has supported over the years, pays off in a wonderfully uplifting way.

While some moments are somber and a little emotional, or angsty, the story never becomes too heavy or overly sentimental. It’s very light and easy, a ‘feel good’ story, with a lovely, charming conclusion that left me feeling hopeful, a little less burdened, with a more positive attitude- and unrelenting craving for cake!!





Louise Miller, a pastry chef and writer living in Boston, MA, is the author of THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING and THE LATE BLOOMERS' CLUB. Louise is an art school dropout, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs. 

You can find Louise posting pictures on Instagram-

get book updates on Facebook and Tumblr-

try out her recipes that she posts on her baking Tumblr--

and chat with her on Twitter-

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