This made me very happy indeed!
(Starred review) O’Neal, Barbara. How To Bake a Perfect Life. Bantam. Dec. 2010. 398p. ISBN 9780553386776. pap. $15.
“Forty-year-old bread maker Ramona Gallagher owns a boulangerie in Colorado Springs, though independence from her restaurateur family members has put a crimp in her financial well-being and in their relationships. Pregnant with her first child, Ramona’s 24-year-old daughter, Sofia, flies to Germany when her soldier husband, Oscar, is burned in an explosion in Afghanistan. Katie, Oscar’s 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, comes to live with Ramona after her mother is arrested and forced into rehab for drug use. A surly teen with a dog, Katie adds to the unresolved family issues lying heavily on Ramona’s shoulders. She thinks back on that long-ago summer, when she was pregnant and Aunt Poppy had taught her to bake bread—and, oh, that young man at the record store.
“Verdict: Mothers and daughters are at the heart of this beautiful novel by O’Neal (The Lost Recipe for Happiness). Their interactions can be thorny and insuperable, yet there is love at the root, just waiting for the proper nourishment to make it grow—a lot like mother dough, refreshed and fed and folded into so many tantalizing creations. O’Neal offers baking lore and recipes along with her narrative. Readers will be captivated by the baking process as much as they are by these complex and multidimensional women. Highly recommended.”—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal