A work of fiction about characters who could be your next-door neighbors. The third-person narrative is straightforward and conversational, almost like gossip over morning coffee in the kitchen.
Ellen and Lanie are sisters who lost their wise and loving mother, a baker, when Ellen was 16 and Lanie was 6. Their father, a librarian, drifted into his own world of grief and literature, while Ellen raised Lanie. After a miscarriage, Ellen’s marriage to the handsome, seductive Max falls apart, and they divorce. She opens a bakery and offers daily baking tips as well as grammar lessons to her customers. Lanie, meanwhile, goes to law school and represents both wealthy clients in divorce actions and poor clients seeking restraining orders against abusive partners. She needs to make money to contribute to a comfortable lifestyle with her architect husband, but she wants to help poor women. When she gives birth to her son Benjamin, both her marriage and her career are stressed to near breaking points. Both women miss their mother but remember her sage advice, “at the end of every day you can always find three good things that happened,” and they love, support and advise each other. When Ellen finds romance with a charming customer, she invites her sister and brother-in-law to vacation with them on the island of Nantucket, and the healing energy reaches out both ways. Despite a heartbreaking discovery for both Ellen and her new beau, there is a happy ending.
Like Ellen’s pastries described in mouthwatering detail, the book is warm and comforting.