The Coincidence of Coconut Cake – Amy E. Reichert
Fiction – Contemporary
Published July 21st 2015 by Gallery Books
This is basically You Got Mail except it’s a chef and a restaurant critic. If you enjoy Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks you will enjoy this book. I could seriously just review the movie and it would work and I’m actually okay with that because it’s very obvious that that is the case on the first page.
So What’s It About
Lou is the chef and owner of a small french restaurant in Milwaukee. Life is going good: she’s engaged to a super successful guy, has great friends, and her restaurant is starting to become successful. Then, as in all romantic comedies, all of that comes crashing down as her engagement falls apart at the same time her restaurant gets a scathing review.
Al is an unhappy restaurant critic living in what he considers to be hell, Wisconsin. On the street one day he smells the deliciousness of a coconut cake and sees it being carried by an attractive woman. They politely chat and when they meet again by chance he tries his hand at awkward flirting and challenges her to prove that Milwaukee is actually great. Lou accepts the challenge and they begin a friendship that will prove to be pivotal in both their lives. As Al starts to fall for Lou he starts to fall for the city as well.
First and foremost, do not eat this book while hungry. I got through three chapters before I had to go grab a snack, which happened to be cheese curds and were delicious in case you were wondering.
So the good. The romance was adorable in a “this is exactly what I expected and I don’t care” way. For being a cookie-cutter romantic comedy we actually got some secondary character development and back-story which was delightfully unexpected. Also, Milwaukee is just as awesome as this book makes it seem, so it gets some brownie points from me for that one. Reichert does a good job of describing the food and Lou and Al’s exploration of everything Milwaukee has to offer.
As cute as this was, the actual chemistry between Lou and Al at times was fantastic and other times it was “eh.” They had some weird dialogue and I found it kind of hard to believe that Al would never tell Lou he was a restaurant critic, or that Lou would never ask? I understand her thinking was she was still getting over a break-up and her career crumbling around her so she didn’t want to talk about her job. But, isn’t asking what your friend does at least a good way to seem interested in their lives and at best a good way to make sure they aren’t a serial killer? I don’t want to spoil anything but they get way too far into the relationship before Al considers saying anything, which I get, but that Lou never asks I can’t believe. I think I just wanted some excitement or passion that didn’t come from this completely avoidable issue.
I probably won’t be re-read it because it was kind of forgettable but sometimes that’s just the best kind of book.
So what did everyone else think about this book? Also, did anyone try and bake the cake recipe at the end of the book and how did it turn out because the recipe looked so good but I returned the book to the library before I could remember to copy it down.