An insecure bakery owner in Seattle takes refuge in creating decadent desserts and pastries after she learns of her husband's infidelity in this debut novel.
After months of missed calls, late work nights, and almost no conversation or sex, Elle finds out her husband, Tom, has been having an affair with another woman. The story unfolds with two timelines: The past reveals Elle and Tom's history: a meet-cute, romantic getaway, marriage proposal, wedding, pregnancy scare, and their realization that while he wants children, she does not. The present shows Elle's response to Tom's infidelity. In addition to baking, she seeks emotional support and shelter from her best friend and business partner, Bonnie, and has "gross” but “necessary” sex with Owen, a younger man she meets in a bar. Bonnie's secure and happy marriage to Charlie provides a nice contrast to Elle and Tom's difficulties. Tom seems too perfect at times, and Elle's reaction to his infidelity is more about her own insecurity than anger at him. A mix-up that brings Tom, Owen, and a police officer to Elle's home along with an offer from Elle's previously unsupportive mother help Elle embrace the life she really wants, which may or may not include Tom. There's no high concept, big surprise, plot twist, or high-stakes conflict in this story, but the tension builds nicely, and Elle is likable and sympathetic.
Readers will enjoy the heroine's journey of self-discovery and the recipes for the lemon tarts, brownies, scones, chocolate Bundt cake, and other treats she bakes along the way.