Book Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

What’s the Story?

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?

Favorite Words: “Do not hide who you are. These are a nurturer’s hands. Cooking is hard and sometimes painful work, but you do it to share your gift with us. Your cooking improves our lives. Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are.”

This book was every bit as delicious as the coconut cake that is described in its pages. Yes, it’s predictable in many ways but it’s also perfect. I loved reading about Lou and Al’s many food adventures in Milwaukee. It made me want to go there in summer just to taste the cheese curds and the milkshakes. I also wouldn’t mind going to many of the festivals and walking through the many food stands. This book is every bit an advertisement for tourism for Milwaukee as it is a fun book about it.

You wanted Al and Lou to be together. Yes, in the beginning he was a bit of an ass but he grew on you. I loved learning more about him as Lou did. It made them feel very real to me. I also loved the care that Reichert took in presenting the secondary characters. They weren’t simply just thrown in to move the story along. They had a purpose and it was easy to fall in love with them too.

This book was endearing and my book club hopes that this book is turned into a movie. It would warm the heart and make our stomachs growl.

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