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How to Bake a Perfect Life

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How to Bake a Perfect Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780553386776
ISBN10: 0553386778
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a novel as warm and embracing as a family kitchen, Barbara O’Neal explores the poignant, sometimes complex relationships between mothers and daughters—and the healing magic of homemade bread.

 

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build.

When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again—this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering.

Ramona relies upon a special set of tools—patience, persistence, and the reliability of a good recipe—when rebellious Katie arrives. And as she relives her own history of difficult choices, Ramona shares her love of baking with the troubled girl. Slowly, Katie begins to find self-acceptance and a place to call home. And when a man from her past returns to offer a second chance at love, Ramona discovers that even the best recipe tastes better when you add time, care, and a few secret ingredients of your own.

Review:

"The Rita Award — winning author (as Barbara Samuel) of The Lost Recipe for Happiness returns with the absorbing story of Ramona Gallagher, a 40-year-old woman whose joy in running a bakery in Colorado Springs helps her transcend a life that's anything but perfect. Ramona has a prickly relationship with her large, restaurant-owning family and a deep love for her daughter, Sofia, who Ramona had as a teenager and is now grown and pregnant. When Sofia's husband is injured in Afghanistan and she flies to Germany to be with him, Ramona is left to care for Sofia's 13-year-old stepdaughter, Katie, a scrawny child whose drug-addicted mother is in jail. Over the summer, Ramona struggles to keep her business afloat and find some solid footing with her family, bonds with Katie, aches for what her daughter is enduring, and rekindles a romance from 25 years earlier. O'Neal's tale of strong-willed women and torn family loyalties is a cut above the standard women's fiction fare, held together by lovingly sketched characters and real emotion. (Dec.) In Haney's fast-paced second novel featuring justice seeker Kennesaw Tanner (after No Man's Land), the empathetic Kennesaw, who lives on his sea skiff, Miss Rosalie, in the Savannah River, finds himself confronting the sex trade in Georgia's rural underclass while chasing down the story of the mysterious death of a young girl. Kennesaw's casual self-assurance makes him a charming action hero, but his smugness about his friendships with people less fortunate than him and his introspective asides about how we are ruining nature ('are we not content until we have cut down every ancient tree') and about the hopelessness of the lives of the poor ('a social disease for which there appears to be no immunization and no antidote') yield an unpleasant air of condescension and superiority. Still, both military and boating enthusiasts will be rewarded. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

About the Author

Barbara O’Neal fell in love with food and restaurants at the age of fifteen, when she landed a job in a Greek café and served baklava for the first time. She sold her first novel in her twenties, and has also published under the names Barbara Samuel and Ruth Wind. Since then she has won a plethora of awards, including two Colorado Book Awards and six prestigious RITAs, including one for The Lost Recipe for Happiness. Her novels have been widely published in Europe and Australia, and she travels all over the world, presenting workshops, hiking hundreds of miles, and, of course, eating. She lives with her partner, a British endurance athlete, and their collection of cats and dogs, in Colorado Springs.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Karen Rush, March 16, 2014 (view all comments by Karen Rush)
I really enjoyed this novel about mothers and daughters, loyalty, love and forgiveness. Interspersed are delicious sounding bread recipes that I look forward to trying.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Denise Morland, January 10, 2011 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
In How to Bake a Perfect Life a cobbled together family of women struggle to find success and happiness and to understand each other. The book centers around Ramona, a 40 year old woman trying to keep her beloved bakery open. Circling the story of Ramona are those of Sophia, her pregnant daughter, and Katie, Sophia's neglected stepdaughter, in addition to Ramona's mother, grandmother, and aunt. Each woman has to fight her own set of demons and all are strong in their own, unique ways. Woven throughout the book is enough fabulous baking to make anyone hungry, a loyal dog, and a little romance.

I have loved Babara O'Neal's other books and this one does not disappoint. As with her others, Barbara hits just the right spot between fairy tale, happy-ever-after, and the harsh reality of circumstances. It is believable enough to really fall in love with the characters with a satisfying ending. The moment I picked up How to Bake a Perfect Life I was completely immersed in the bakery and it was a struggle to leave that world whenever I had to put the book down.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553386776
Author:
Oneal, Barbara
Publisher:
Bantam
Author:
O'Neal, Barbara
Subject:
Contemporary Women
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Subject:
Romance - Contemporary
Subject:
fiction;women s fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20101231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.01 x 5.2 x 0.91 in 0.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Contemporary

How to Bake a Perfect Life Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Bantam - English 9780553386776 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The Rita Award — winning author (as Barbara Samuel) of The Lost Recipe for Happiness returns with the absorbing story of Ramona Gallagher, a 40-year-old woman whose joy in running a bakery in Colorado Springs helps her transcend a life that's anything but perfect. Ramona has a prickly relationship with her large, restaurant-owning family and a deep love for her daughter, Sofia, who Ramona had as a teenager and is now grown and pregnant. When Sofia's husband is injured in Afghanistan and she flies to Germany to be with him, Ramona is left to care for Sofia's 13-year-old stepdaughter, Katie, a scrawny child whose drug-addicted mother is in jail. Over the summer, Ramona struggles to keep her business afloat and find some solid footing with her family, bonds with Katie, aches for what her daughter is enduring, and rekindles a romance from 25 years earlier. O'Neal's tale of strong-willed women and torn family loyalties is a cut above the standard women's fiction fare, held together by lovingly sketched characters and real emotion. (Dec.) In Haney's fast-paced second novel featuring justice seeker Kennesaw Tanner (after No Man's Land), the empathetic Kennesaw, who lives on his sea skiff, Miss Rosalie, in the Savannah River, finds himself confronting the sex trade in Georgia's rural underclass while chasing down the story of the mysterious death of a young girl. Kennesaw's casual self-assurance makes him a charming action hero, but his smugness about his friendships with people less fortunate than him and his introspective asides about how we are ruining nature ('are we not content until we have cut down every ancient tree') and about the hopelessness of the lives of the poor ('a social disease for which there appears to be no immunization and no antidote') yield an unpleasant air of condescension and superiority. Still, both military and boating enthusiasts will be rewarded. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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