Book Review The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller


A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home-and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking When Olivia Rawlings-pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club-sets not just her flambUed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of-the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts. Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired-to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee-or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected-it could be even better.


This book was an enjoyable read for everyone. The writing was gently humorous, it was well paced and entertained the reader with many engaging and likable characters. The main character is a young and experienced pastry chef who relocates very quickly from the city of Boston to country Vermont.  She is escaping a baking embarrassment in an establishment of renown as well as an unfulfilling personal relationship. Her personal life is in despair and her only supportive emotional connections are her best friend and her dog Salty. Very quickly she finds herself working as a baking chef in what is a small town inn. Slowly she finds loving and accepting people and a community that reminds her of the value of family love and support, something that is missing in her own life. Professionally she is in a baking environment that is interesting and fulfilling for her skill level. North American and Canadian Country Music also features as an emotional connection for her throughout the story along with the year round festive foods of that location in the world. For some readers this promoted interesting side research into this traditional music, the country dances and the celebratory foods and recipes. We are happy to recommend The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living.

Read by the MJ Readers book club