The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert, didn’t quite satiate my reading appetite. More like a Hostess Twinkie than a made-from-scratch coconut cake, it was too predictable. Promised by the publisher to be a cross between How to Eat a Cupcake and You’ve Got Mail, it unfortunately didn’t have the wit or romance of either.
Reichert is described as being an author who likes happy endings about characters that you would invite to dinner. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake had the requisite happy ending – and I do like me a happy ending — but I’m not sure I’d particularly like to dine with any of the main characters.
Luella – called Lou – is the owner and chef of a French restaurant that is just barely making it in Milwaukee. A mean-spirited restaurant critic puts the nail in the coffin when he writes a scathing review of the restaurant after dining there on a particularly bad night for Lou, who just caught her fiancé in bed with another woman.
Lou drowns her trouble at a neighborhood bar, where she meets British-born Al, and they strike up a friendship. Al mentions to Lou that he hasn’t found anything good about Milwaukee so far, and she agrees to show him all of the wonderful food traditions in the area. They agree to not talk about their jobs. Eventually a romance blossoms.
It won’t come as a surprise to you to learn that it turns out that Al is the restaurant critic who is responsible for Lou’s restaurants ultimate failure. All the expected angst transpires, and is eventually settled happily.
The premise is cute, but the plot is fairly predictable and the characters are a little too one-dimensional for me. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake isn’t horrible, and the parts where they talk about cooking and food are fun for someone who likes to cook and eat as do I. But don’t dive in expecting a great novel with a lot of interesting twists. It won’t happen. Just enjoy it for what it is, a simple romance novel with a spattering of recipes and cooking.