Umm, one word: LOVE. This book was freaking adorable on so many levels!
Okay, so I'd first like to point out that I have spent about twenty minutes trying to think of a creative, but straight-forward way to give you the synopsis of this book. And I don't know if it's because of the book itself, or if it's because I'm lacking creative brainpower right now. Perhaps it's a bit of both.
Anyway, here's the basics: Emily Benedict's mother Dulcie has passed away, so Emily is sent to Mullaby, North Carolina, to live with her grandfather, a man who until recently had been unknown to her. She always wondered why her mother never mentioned him or the town she grew up in, and she quickly discovers that while it seems everyone in the town knows of her mother, no one seems to want to clue Emily in as to what exactly her mother did. All she can figure out was that Dulcie did something that has caused many people in the town to act strangely against her newly-arrived daughter.
Meanwhile, Julia has lived in Mullaby for most of her life, and after escaping the town for what she thought was forever, she found herself right back there. Julia has a special gift of baking cakes, and she bakes them with the hope that one day a lost love will be returned to her. Julia quickly forms a bond with the newly-arrived Emily, but even she is reluctant to share the details of what it was that Dulcie did so many years before.
Okay, there it is. The above does not do this book justice, but unfortunately I'm having trouble explaining it. Goodreads has a much better description of it here, so I highly suggest reading that.
Anyway, this book felt very indulgent to me. It was sweet and savory all at once, and in a way it reminded me of the cakes that Julia baked throughout it. It was a surprisingly unique take on the "girl discovers her mom had a secret past" type of tale. The characters were all fun and refreshing, and I especially loved Julia. I admit that at first I thought Julia would be a throwaway character, but she surprised me with how complex she ended up being.
I would absolutely recommend this book to any girl looking for a fun, frivolous read that still has a little bit of depth to the story. I'm really looking forward to reading more books by Sarah Addison Allen.