The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café caught my eye when I was browsing on Goodreads and I knew we had to feature both the book and author at Chick Lit Central, as a result. I'm so glad we did for a couple of reasons...one is that it reunited me with a classmate from high school (a nice woman who also loves books) and the other is that it was a fantastic story from beginning to end!
Ellen has it made, living in Manhattan and engaged to a high society politician. When her grandmother's dying wish is for Ellen to deliver a letter to the boy she once loved, Ellen drops everything and drives to Beacon, Maine to track down this mysterious man. Her plan is to give him the letter and be on her way, but plans never work out quite the way we want them to. After almost drowning and being rescued by the local carpenter, she becomes a small-town celebrity. This quickly gets in the way of Ellen discreetly finding out about her grandmother's past, especially when the carpenter keeps showing up when Ellen least expects it. She soon begins to realize that a one night visit to Beacon will not be enough for her to learn about her grandmother...and herself.
I was excited to read this novel after finding out that one of our readers who won it couldn't put it down. I probably wouldn't have put it down either, but life gets in the way (such as preparing for the Jewish holiday season; of course I bought a blueberry pie, as the book was commanding me have a slice...or two).
The descriptions were fantastic and made me feel like I was personally visiting Beacon. I could visualize the people and settings and my senses of taste and smell were tantalized. The details enhanced the story even further. There was also a lot of humor throughout the story, especially surrounding Ellen's 15 minutes of small town fame. Combine that with a captivating dialogue and strongly developed characters and you have a story worth sharing and recommending to everyone you know.
On a personal level, the setting reminded me of when my husband and I took a road trip to Door County, Wisconsin, nine years ago. The inn where Ellen stays made me think of the inn where we stayed at the time. I also loved Ellen's taste in music, as I find myself listening to similar music most of the time. I could see us taking a road trip together with Ella Fitzgerald's lovely voice coming out of the stereo speakers. Of course, we'd both be singing along! Learning about Ellen's grandmother's past was interesting and had a mystery feel to it. I was just as eager as Ellen was to find answers and it made me think about how much I don't know about my grandmothers.
The only things that didn't work for me so well, but didn't take away from my enjoyment, were the title and the level of risk for Ellen. The title is interesting and with the cover image, I was definitely curious to know more. However, the reason for the title seems to be more in the background. The café existed at one time, but it serves more as a symbol, and even that is not as apparent. As for Ellen's level of risk, I felt like whatever she did with her life, she had no chance of being hurt (emotionally). I don't want to say anything more, as to not spoil the story though.
I absolutely loved The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café from start to finish and eagerly anticipate Mary Simses writing another novel. In the meantime, I am already casting the movie version in my head.
Ellen: Kristina Apgar (I know she's younger than Ellen is supposed to be, but I feel like age wasn't such an issue that Ellen would necessarily HAVE to be in her 30s. I kept picturing Kristina in my head as I was reading it.)
Hayden: Armie Hammer (The age thing for Ellen also applies to Hayden.)
Roy: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (I know his age is going in the opposite direction, but I just picture him as Roy anyway.)
Paula (owner of the inn where Ellen stays): Edie McClurg
Thanks to Hachette Book Group for the book in exchange for an honest review.
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