The Cake Therapist: A Novel. Judith Fertig. Penguin Group (USA). June 2015. 304 pp. ISBN#: 9780425277324.
An old Chinese teaching says that flavors match moods or emotions! So Claire “Neely” O’Neil discovers on opening her bakery in Millcreek Valley, Ohio that she can put this skill to use with her customers. Imagine preparing a wedding celebration for a couple and picking up moods of memories, tension, anger, and more and imagine you can create the perfectly beautiful and tasty cupcake or wedding cake to meet that need. Neely is a very talented pastry chef who has a magical crew who create looks and tastes that the town is quickly drooling over and ordering by the dozens. But the work is exhausting and situations quickly arise that bring both tension and crises to the town which involve family, friends and acquaintances at the most unexpected and usually awkward moments!
First and foremost are the messages Neely’s husband keeps leaving, even though they are separated. What is about him that Neely is drawn toward in spite of knowing he is the most selfish, unfaithful man anyone could wind up with, a guaranteed disaster in spite of his sexy charm that he lays on everyone with whom he comes in contact!
And what’s with the nasty lady and her drunk daughter who will create a stormy scene later on in the story that is replete with secrets, hurt, and abandonment going back all the way to World War II?
Add to the motley crew a Goth gal whose boyfriend or ex-boyfriend beats her up but who can create the most gorgeous designs on everything in the bakery and who only lets Neely see her hurt side.
The descriptions this author presents of these confectionary delights are mouth-wateringly tempting, making the reader run out to the best bakery in his or her locale to find something equivalent to relish slowly. Sheer rapture! This is a talented writer who can titillate one’s senses and at the same time create a mystery that unfolds gradually but with enough zip to keep the reader fascinated.
The Cake Therapist… is a great read that should be on every reader’s list of summer fiction to enjoy at the beach, mountains, in one’s yard in a comfy chair or just about anywhere, any time! Delightful and highly recommended!