The Autobiography of Henry VIII, but I know old Henry's story pretty well, so it's kind of depressing to read about him falling head over heels in lust with Anne knowing that in a few short years he's going to have her beheaded. I am also still reading Team of Rivals, but we all know how THAT ends. Sometimes when you are reading big thick project books, you have to put the meat aside for just 48 hours and have some cake.
Thus enters Always the Baker Never the Bride.
I found this book after I went to a teacher in-service on reading and everyone was encouraged to recommend a book they were currently reading. This, of course, made my Amazon.com wish list EXPLODE. This was one of the books recommended, so I grabbed it at the local library over the weekend. (My husband sent me there to print off a form "really quick." Silly husband. I was there for, like, an hour and came home with four books and a movie.)
Always the Baker Never the Bride is a delightful little comical book about Emma Rae Travis, a diabetic baker who specializes in exquisite wedding cakes. She is hired to be the pastry chef at a new exclusive destination wedding hotel by the dashingly handsome Jackson Drake. From there, we meet Jackson's lovable and very involved sisters, Emma Rae's crazy family, and a whole cast of fun other characters along the way. We follow Jackson and Emma along as they dance around the inevitable growing romantic chemistry between them while juggling both their new responsibilities to their careers and their old responsibilities to their families. It's a crazy, laugh out loud ride from their first initial meeting - where they, of course, don't like each other - until the last chapter where they begin to let go and let God take them where they've wanted to go all along.
As a structural device, each chapter is punctuated with baking tips, wedding tips, or a recipe. There are fun little entries such as "Emma's Cashew Fudge Brownies" and "Unique Wedding Themes for the Discriminating Bride." Occasionally something more applicable to the plot is included, such a program to the opening gala at The Tanglewood, the new hotel Jackson is opening. It's a fun way to transition from chapter to chapter.
The book took me 24 hours to read. The plot is fairly predictable and the writing is isn't Fitzgerald or anything. But that's the fun of it. Bricker creates beautiful characters in a beautiful, fun setting and places them in zany, hilarious situations while they also wrestle with important life questions, such as how to heal a marriage or how to move on from the death of a spouse. There is a gentle balance of laughter and tears to the characters' lives. And shockingly enough, everyone keeps their clothes on, keeps their mouths clean, and has a reasonably happy view of life. Refreshing!
The book also surprised me with its spiritual undertones. I would not call it a "Christian novel" by any means, which is good, because most "Christian fiction" is, quite frankly, nauseating. It's hard to find good fiction about believing people that doesn't make you want to gag. Bricker weaves in her own beliefs about the healing power of God in a very subtle, loving manner, making it clear what she believes while allowing the reader to make up their own mind about God's restorative powers. Again, very refreshing.
I was also delighted to discover that the book is the first in a SERIES! I love books in a series! It means I can go get more and dig into these characters even more! WHO-HOO!
Overall, Always the Baker Never the Bride was the perfect little reading break to end the summer, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take a few days and just enjoy a little laughter in their lives.
Look for more from Sandra Bricker at http://www.sandradbricker.com/Home_Page.html.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
What I'm reading now: The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
Top Five TBR:
1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
2. Forgotten God by Francis Chan.
3. Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger
4. The Story of Britain by Rebecca Fraser
5. Crazy Love by Francis Chan