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 fulfil 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 facade shouldn't slip.
As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestant's 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.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Each competitor has their own back story plus the book goes back in time to show Kathleen Eaden's life when she was writing her famous book. So there is a lot going on but Sarah Vaughan brings it all together expertly, creating a plot that will keep you enthralled from the very beginning.
I felt that I identified with several of the main characters and the one thing they all have in common is their love of baking. I really loved how Vaughan showed how and why baking had become such a big part of their lives. Baking is one of my hobbies and I think that the author cleverly showed how emotive it is as a past-time. I love trying new recipes and getting them right but the main reason I enjoy baking is that I like to be able to share it with other people. I love it when my daughter asks for a particular cake that I make as I know that I have created something that she enjoys and will remember from her childhood.
The Art of Baking Blind appealed to me on so many different levels. It was warm, witty and insightful. I felt like it was a very comforting read that resonated with me, I highly recommend that you read it,
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.