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Louise Miller's The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

MillerCBG<i>The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living</i> by Louise Miller is the perfect summer book! It’s just what you might want for an escapist read that has some, but not too much, substance.

Thirty-two-year-old Olivia Rawlings works as a pastry chef at a fancy Boston club ­-- that is, she did work there until she dropped a heavy tray of flaming Baked Alaska that lit the curtains, and then the posh club, on fire (oops).

Escaping to Guthrie, Vermont, to visit her best friend Hannah Doyle, Olivia starts to see the appeal of retreating to a quieter country way of life. The local inn, The Sugar Maple, is looking for a baker who can bake the inn’s way back to glory in the Coventry County Fair apple pie contest, and Livvy might be just the person to do it. Cantankerous Margaret Hurley, the inn’s owner, hires Livvy as the pastry chef on a trial basis after an interview in which she was required to bake sample pies (she scores big with a frangipane tart).  Olivia and her huge dog Salty move into an old sugaring house on the inn’s property, and they are soon the talk of the quiet rural town. Olivia’s unorthodox hair colors, love of bellying up to the bar, and insistence on doing things her way ruffle some very tradition bound feathers. 

I enjoyed this book so much. The author, a blogger and a pastry chef in Boston, writes so appetizingly about food, you will be hungry the entire time you are reading her debut novel. The book has a lovely small town feel, especially as the characters endearingly include Olivia and Salty into their traditions.   Add in some love, romance, banjo and fiddle music, and arch rivalry over pie recipes, and you’ve got a book you can’t put down. 

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