How to Bake A Perfect Life

How to Bake A Perfect Life

A Novel

Book - 2011
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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.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, c2011.
ISBN: 9780553386776
Branch Call Number: O'NEAL B
Characteristics: 398 pages ; 21 cm.


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Jul 26, 2019

One of my favorite books from one of my favorite Colorado authors. Barbara O'Neal writes wonderful stories about women characters and their relationships with their families. Ramona is facing a daily struggle to keep her Colorado Springs bakery going when her daughter, Sofia, calls and tells Ramona that her soldier husband has been wounded in Afghanistan. Sofia goes to Germany to be at her husband's bedside and leaves her teen-aged stepdaughter with Ramona, along with a stray dog named Merlin. Can Ramona win the troubled girl's trust while coping with other family members, a boyfriend, a dog, and running a bakery? Lovely story--great recipes, too!

Jun 15, 2015

One of my favorite books. I cry during some of the parts of it every time I'm reading.

Jul 01, 2012

Very enjoyable, easy to read romance. This author loves dogs and food, and I love reading about them.

Dec 19, 2011

I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of what it must be like for a 15 year old girl to be taken in by complete strangers, the struggles of an small business person and how to balance life in general. The family relationships are really complicated the whole way round - the mother with her parents, the dad with his kid and the new wife trying to make sense of it all. One ghostly appearance, to make things interesting, I guess... although, given how complicated and tortured everyone's life is, it's amazing they all find their way through in the end. Definitely a light read. With recipes included.

Nov 27, 2011

This was a light read, without too much magic realism, but enough to make the story less ordinary. Some nice-sounding recipes for yeast breads and quickbreads. I haven't tried any myself, so I can't vouch for them, but they sound very good. If I do try them, I will edit this comment :) Reading the novel felt longer than it actually was, so for that I would say it is not a can't-put-it-down read.

Oct 06, 2011

This book was really good. The story kept me interested the whole time.
This book reminded me of "Like Water For Chocolate", a book I had to read in English class. However, I liked this book much much more because it had a lighter tone and not so much magical realism.

mumcat Aug 15, 2011

Great book - looking forward to reading more by this author. As usual with wonderful books I was sad to come to the end of the book and was left with wanting more (in a good way) - what happens next to the characters .

Apr 24, 2011

Haven't read something this true-to-life for a long time. Characters have real flaws and psychological and emotional challenges. A new author discovered and will track subsequent publications.

Mar 19, 2011

Good book about relationships between mothers and daughters. Bread bakers will especially enjoy this book, includes recipes for breads and starters.


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