Fictional character, Kathleen Eaden, is an author, legendary baker and the wife of a supermarket tycoon. Her cookbook, The Art of Baking, has been a best-seller since the 1960s. Her death has prompted Eaden’s Supermarkets to sponsor a baking contest in an attempt to find the “new Mrs. Eaden”. And so begins the story of five hopeful candidates who come from a variety of backgrounds in hopes of winning the coveted title, which also includes a generous monetary prize.
I really wanted to like this book. Honestly, I chose it because the cover caught my eye – so lovely and retro, but I had a great deal of difficulty sticking with it. The story is written in present tense – my least favorite tense of all. Vicki, Claire, Jenny, Karen and Mike each have their own reasons for wanting to win the baking contest. Readers follow their personal stories via their individual perspectives, which leads to one of my biggest problems with this book. POV switched frequently and often suddenly blended into one another. The author has also thrown in the flashback POV of Kathleen Eaden herself, and then two additional minor characters suddenly are granted POV near the end of the story. It was far too much perspective for my taste. And, poor Mike, we barely heard a thing out of him. The only man in the bunch and he was all but forgotten.
Truth be told, I wanted to slap several of the characters halfway through the book. No one had a backbone. The main characters were so forlorn and downtrodden because they were saddled with nearly every imaginable problem known to fiction-kind. Unwed mothers, overbearing mothers, lousy mothers, impatient stay-at-home mothers, infertile mothers, empty nest mothers, “I had a rough childhood so now I’m going to vomit my way to perfection and be a slut” mothers, – it seemed as though every cliché possible was thrown into the mix. At some points the momma drama went on for pages to the point that it became so tiresome I had to put the book down for at least a day. There was much praise among other reviewers regarding the baking references. However, the recipes mentioned sounded so far out of the ordinary, I found it difficult to believe that many everyday housewives are actually attempting them.
The one bright side was the ending. It was charming and heartfelt, only slightly redeeming the author at the last minute. As much as I hate giving any book less than four stars (something I almost never do) I have to do it with The Art of Baking Blind. I found it tedious and long-winded, and find little to recommend.
3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.