Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

The Art of Baking Blind
By Sarah Vaughan
Published by Hodder (13 August 2015)
IBSN: 978-1444792256

Publisher's description
There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved.
In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.
Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her façade shouldn't slip.
As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life.

My verdict
I loved The Art of Baking Blind from the prologue. Its gorgeous description of a gingerbread house tackled all of my senses. I could not only picture the gingerbread house, but I could feel it, smell it and taste it too.

This book is a fictional version of the Great British Bake Off with all the same excitement, sob stories and heartache behind the scenes. The characters are well-developed, each with their own reason for entering the competition to find the new Mrs Eaden. I had no idea who was going to win, as each character (except maybe one) was a worthy contender.

The story also follows the original Mrs Eaden, Kathleen, a cookery writer who appeared to live the perfect life. But as the book unravels, it's clear that not everything was so perfect behind the scenes.

While reading The Art of Baking Blind, I could savour the taste and aromas of the baking. This is a deliciously sweet book to be savoured, enjoying each and every word, reading slowly rather than in fast chunks.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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