The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Title - The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Author - Amy E. Reichert
Publication Date - July 21st 2015
Publisher - Gallery Books
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 336

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella's, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé... until the morning she discovers him in the buff - with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella's, little does he know he's arrived on the worst day of the chef's life. The review practically writes itself; underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service - he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al's mean-spirited review of Luella's runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she's game - but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city's local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou's restaurant faces closure, while Al's column gains popularity. It's only a matter of time before the two fall in love... but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

When I spotted the words, "You've Got Mail" used to describe The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, I knew that I wanted in on what could only be a truly delightful novel. Comparison to one of my favourite films ever excited me immediately and I grabbed this title from NetGalley in a heartbeat. I'd heard only fantastic things about it from one of my good friends who'd read it previously, so I couldn't wait to dig in and see for myself what she'd been so excited about! 

In terms of movie comparison, I'm so pleased to say that it was spot on! You've Got Mail has been one of my favourite films for as long as I can remember, not only because Meg Ryan owns and runs the most ADORABLE book shop in the universe, and not only because Tom Hanks is utterly swoon-worthy in it, but because of the hidden identities and that agonising build-up to the moment when all is revealed. This same build-up was very much evident in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and I absolutely loved it. Right the way through, I knew that the moment would eventually come, and as the plot began to develop and the characters began to grow close, I was bracing myself for the big finale.

In The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, the author introduces us to her heroine Lou, who owns and runs Luella's, a gorgeous French restaurant where the food is full to the brim with love, and made with the up-most care. I really have to commend Amy E. Reichert on her absolutely divine, deliciously hunger-invoking descriptions of food throughout the entirety of her novel. I'm not just referring to the coconut cake which the title alludes to which had me salivating at the mere mention of it, but absolutely every single other food item that was involved. This author could take a plain-as-day cheese and ham sandwich and within seconds have it sounding like the most glorious-tasting thing you'd ever wanted to taste in your life. The scents within Luella's were utterly to-die-for. I wanted to whip around that kitchen, swiping up each item and then proceed to gobble it down hungrily. The author sets Lou and Al's story in the atmospheric scene of Milwaukee, and chooses to emphasise the foodie-focus, only making my stomach rumble ever more. Not only that, but the author's descriptions of this city, despite me never having visited myself, made it seem as if it were just next door. The place was so alive and vibrant and, just like Al, I fell completely head-over-heels in love with it. There was always something to see or get excited about, it was a hive of activity, and Lou's love for her home-city only served to intensify my own. 

The characters within The Coincidence of Coconut Cake were so beautifully developed. I took such a keen liking to Lou, sympathising and cheering her on at every turn. She had a huge, golden heart and quickly snatched mine away, and I wanted nothing more than for her dream come true. In my eyes, and considering what she goes through within the novel, I believed that she deserved nothing but the best and found myself willing the novel along to find out how her story ended, but at the same time, not wanting to rush because I wanted to savour every single page. When the author introduced Al to me, I had a teensy inkling what was to come but refused to acknowledge that inkling for fear of ruining the moment within the plot when it arrived. I adored the switching of the narrative, which the author achieved so smoothly and fluidly, taking me back and forth between Lou and Al, allowing me a sneaky insight into each of their thoughts and feelings about a number of things. There is something so satisfying about being able to see things from both points of view and this made my reading of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake even more enjoyable. I have to admit, I didn't warm to Al straight away, but the development of his character and watching how Milwaukee and Lou herself worked their magic on him was utterly enchanting. By the time the novel reached its send, Al was a completely different man and it was fantastic. Watching him transform, from beginning to end, had me so completely enthralled and swept up in his and Lou's joint-story.

The pacing of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was perfect for me. I'm such a huge lover of detail, especially when it comes to food, and so it seemed as if my reading tastes and the author's writing style were perfectly matched. Amy E. Reichert has a talent for bringing to life her readers' senses, which she achieved so fantastically with me. Everything which the author brought forward and decided to focus on seemed to be done so with the most delicate of touches and the most precise of words. The author's imagery was glorious and I could almost taste the food she was describing on my tongue. It had me going through numerous bouts of hunger and I had to stop to grab snacks through my reading of this novel, but there is nothing like a book that affects you so greatly, you have to physically sort yourself out before you can continue!

I loved it. Absolutely LOVED IT! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially those who have enjoyed You've Got Mail, adore foodie fiction, and love a sweeping romance that will squeeze you oh-so-tightly. The food was divine, the romance was glorious and I'd happily re-read this right now (if it weren't for my toppling to-read list, of course)! But there is not a doubt in my mind that I'll be back for more from Amy E. Reichert. This novel knocked me off my feet and I was so sad when it came to saying farewell to Lou and Al, as well as the fantastical secondary characters who stole my heart completely away!

Becca's Books is awarding The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! A deliciously captivating tale, one that I'll look back on reading with the fondest of smiles!



1 comment :

  1. Aww I'm so glad you loved this one too - I adored it! Made me hungry as hell though and made me want a wonderful man to share foodie things with! x