I have this really awful habit of borrowing books from the library (sometimes, dare I admit it, multiple times), dragging them home, reading the dust jacket, maybe flipping through the book, and then leaving them in piles unread until the due date all of a sudden arrives (and how quickly those due dates arrive) and then dragging them back to the library and popping them into the curbside drop box. I really mean to read the books, or at least dip into them enough to decide whether I am the right audience and the moment is right. But best intentions and all that. You know how it goes.
For the better part of this year I have actually avoided checking out books from the library, but I finally caved in and am back to my old habit, though definitely in a more abbreviated manner. So the requests tend to be much more selective and limited in the hope I have more of a chance of reading the few I bring home. One of the books in my current library pile caught my eye and I couldn't resist a peek, which has turned into an irresistible temptation and after reading it yesterday, an all out enjoyment of what I have read so far. Pages have turned fast and furiously and now I am sucked in and must find out what is going to happen.
Louise Miller's debut novel, The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, is turning out to be quite a delight. It's a very good thing that reading about food doesn't add any calories to my diet or I might have to spend more time at the gym. So I guess I can describe it as quite delicious and let it have double meaning. The story is like a warm, comforting, piece of hot apple pie with French vanilla ice cream melting on top. (I fear I might even have to partake of some apple pie a la mode before I finish the book as a matter of fact). This is a case of the right book at the right time with the added autumn-ambience that comes with a story set in Vermont in the Fall in a country inn.
Olivia (or Livvy as she is known) Rawlings accidentally sets the exclusive dinner club where she works on fire, though I suspect it will be the best accident she will ever have. Baked Alaskas have a way of lighting up a room, though the mischief hers causes isn't quite the effect she's going for. It was meant to be a special anniversary dessert, a particular favorite of the club president. His wife won't allow him such sweet treats. In the end he doesn't get a piece and neither do any of the guests. It's one of those 'hanging head in shame' moments, all the more so when it's suggested she take a little break from the club's kitchen. What does an out of work pastry chef do? Heads northward where her best friend lives and gets a job at a rustic Vermont Inn called the Sugar Maple Inn.
This has (sorry, no pun intended but I can't help myself) all the right ingredients for a perfect fall read. Light hearted and amusing, the story totally sucks you in. I mean how can you not see yourself there when Livvy gets to live in the Inn's "sugar shack", otherwise known as the one-room shack used for boiling tree sap into syrup. Small town Vermont means lots of local color, both literally since the story begins in September (each new chapter progresses a month), and the personality kind. Livvy has also met a most intriguing local who also lived elsewhere but has returned home to Vermont. I have yet to 'suss' him out, but the journey will be a most enjoyable one.
My teaser is one you might not want to read if you are hungry. Go grab an apple and then come back and read on! Livvy's friend is Hannah and the two grew up together and were almost inseparable. One of their favorite excursions was the local county fair, one of the oldest in the country.
"I had been at the fair every year with Hannah. It had always been one of my favorite weekends--a perfect new England autumn getaway--apple picking, a drive farther north to see the first leaves change color, then a night of fried dough and riding the Zipper at the county fair. We had just been there a few weeks earlier."
If I could click my heels and wish myself there, I would do so right now. I could use a little New England color. But living vicariously through Livvy's adventures will have to do. That excerpt is literally just a little taste since there are plenty more foodie descriptions that are very mouth watering. Only the one I just read goes into several pages and so is too much to type out here.
I didn't mean to go on so very much about a book I just started, but the idea of apple pie does this to a person. It is going to be my gym book. Needless to say, totally engrossing and better to keep busy while reading or I risk robbing the cookie jar.