"There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved.
In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.
Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her façade shouldn't slip.
As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life."
Not many of you will know this, but in a former life, I was a baker. I had a little baking company that provided sweet treats and beautiful things to brighten up people's day. However, not everything lasts forever, and now I am back to just baking for my family (because now I don't bake for everyone else I actually see them!). When I was approached by the author to review this book I knew I absolutely had to read it, because you see, even if you don't bake every day, if you love it you cant get enough of it.
I LOVED this read - not just for the baking (although that was a huge part of it), but the characters drew me in and I was hooked. There is a character for everyone to relate to - for me personally it was Vicki - and I loved watching the way they all reacted to each other, and to how the baking competition affected their every day lives.
The parallel storyline that runs alongside, relating to Kathleen Eaden, is heartbreaking. A story that shows how appearances can be deceiving and while some appear to have it all that is not always the case. The writing style is beautiful, and I defy anyone to read it and not want to try their hand at baking something. Me, I'm waiting for the autumn now, so I can knock up one of Mrs Eaden's rabbit pies.
The Art of Baking Blind is out now and you can get it here:
**My thanks to the author and publisher for my ARC**