The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

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YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.
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 fiancĂ©…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?
Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.
5 wonderful and delightful stars*****

This deliciously romantic story is going straight to the top of my favorites list for 2015!  I enjoyed each and every page and literally did not put the book down from start to finish.  This author put together a story that is simplistic in nature but at the same time sends out a powerful message of not taking for granted an opportunity to take a risk on true love.  Settling for someone less than you deserve should never be on your bucket list!  :)
I adored Lou's character...  she is goal orientated, goes after her dreams, and despite the many road blocks she encounters as the story progresses she continuously picks up the pieces of her life and plows ahead.  These are qualities I admire in people in real life so I completely respected her character and was rooting for all things to work out for her in the end.
Al is a guy who is completely devoted to his career, but not really that devoted to Milwaukee.  Nope, this British man considers this to be a miserable place to live...  that is, until he met the young woman who smelled of Vanilla and Coconut and opened his eyes not only to experiencing new things but also opening his heart.  I love how his character slowly transformed from looking at the world as a glass half empty to a glass half full.  Oh, the difference it can make. 
I absolutely fell in love with the way this couple fell in love.  The simple outings they went on together started out as friendship but turned into something so much more.  I loved how enjoying the simple things in life brought them together.  The gift of time and taking a minute or two to indulge in life's little pleasures is the best way to start out as a couple.  That beats a store bought gift any day of the week! 
There are some delightful supporting characters that will also grasp at your heartstrings.  The staff that worked with Lou were more like family.  I love how they supported her all the way through, even when it hurt.  I particularly loved the elderly German couple who frequented Lou's restaurant and acted as her surrogate parents. 
The author decided to take my emotions on a roller coaster ride at the end however,  the tears were flowing!  I love it when that happens...  :)  I wish I could tell you why but it would be too spoilery so can't tell.....  nope, just can't.  It was heartbreaking but also heartwarming and I loved the beautiful message that came out of the despair.  A lovely ending with a promise of second chances...  because everyone deserves a second chance.  That was the point where this story came full circle and completely won me over. 
So, this is a beautifully written story that is mostly about taking chances, never settling, believing in second chances and most of all Blooming where you are planted!  That was something Al had never thought could happen to him, but he found that sometimes it's not the place you live that makes you happy, it's the people you have walking next to you that makes each day worthwhile. 

I truly cannot recommend this story enough...  this is a keeper and a book I will definitely be reminded of every time I eat a slice of coconut cake!  Now, where is my blender??!!  :)) 

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

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