Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
While reading The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert all I wanted to do was eat and visit Milwaukee (a city I have yet to visit). Lou aka Elizabeth owns and operates her own French restaurant called Luella’s, in honor of her grandmother, Luella. Lou loves to cook, and running her restaurant, although her long time lawyer boyfriend, Devlin wants her to sell the business once they’re married. He wants to take care of her. Sounds great, right? Not for Lou who loves being independent. One day she makes a coconut cake for Devlin and walks into his apartment to see him with his intern wearing a nightgown Devlin bought for Lou. More angry then heartbroken, Lou leaves Devlin without listening to his explanations. Later, during dinner at Luella’s, she has a horrible night. All her dishes go wrong. The biggest food critic in Milwaukee eats there, and ends up panning Lou and her restaurant in the paper. That review may end up closing her restaurant for good. What Lou doesn’t know is that she bumped into the food critic on her way to give Devlin his cake. The food critic is Al, from Britain visiting the city for a short time and writing more negative then positive reviews for restaurants. He has no idea he panned the woman he bumped into (and thinks is cute) is the owner of Luella’s, he hated eating at.
Lou and Al meet again, and Al wants to get to know Lou better. He uses the guise that he hasn’t done much sightseeing, and asks Lou to be his tour guide of sorts. She agrees, showing him the sights and tastes of her city, unaware Al is the food critic who slammed her beloved restaurant. These two start out as friends and slowly realize they have an attraction for one another. Al learns Lou owns Luella’s and has a great amount of guilt for panning her restaurant, but if he tells her who he is, she’ll end up hating him. Does Al keep his job a secret even though he’s falling for Lou?
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a great foodie romance. Lou is independent, strong, and very caring, which is shown perfectly with Al, who is so out of place. But he learns to loosen up and embrace life thanks to Lou. These two have great chemistry together. The love scenes are more subtle than sensual and descriptive, but fit the tone of the novel.
Devlin is very one-dimensional, and comes and goes with no reason (he’s more of a flyaway character). We never get a full explanation on whether he did cheat on Lou or not, but Lou didn’t care because by then because she comes to the conclusion they just weren’t compatible. Devlin isn’t the villain of the story because he’s so cardboard. Some readers may have an issue with his lacking personality, but the strength of the plot is the great characterizations of Al and Lou and their “dates”.
Fans of contemporary foodie romance will get a kick out of this one, and crave some cake to boot!