by Jacquie Underdown
Food is almost a dirty word these days. It is wrapped up in so much confusion. It can be prescriptive, healthy, poisonous, toxic, or super.
Eat this. Eat that. Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that.
My latest contemporary small town romance, Bittersweet, is a book primarily about finding love amidst the turmoil of grief, but food, specifically cupcakes and sweet desserts, is featured heavily.
But the story doesn’t focus on anything restrictive. It doesn’t mention weight or calories or shame.
One cannot live well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
~ Virginia Woolf
This book only speaks of the pleasure food can bring in both the eating and the cooking.
The pleasure of sharing food with the people you love—family and friends.
The emotional balm a red velvet cupcake with sweet cream-cheese frosting can provide.
Eating is so intimate. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you are inviting a person into your life.
Bittersweet demonstrates how food and love are a powerful partnership.
How sharing of food can bring people closer together, can forge friendships, and foster deep relationships.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Bittersweet is a celebration of love and cupcakes and the undeniable joy the combination these two items can bring to a person’s soul.
Amy Jenkins, a talented and ambitious chef, is left humiliated and debt-ridden, after her city restaurant fails. When her best friend calls asking for help in her small town cupcake shop, Amy jumps at the chance to hide out in the small town of Alpine Ridge while her shattered ego mends.
The youngest Mathews brother, Tom feels over-looked and under-appreciated. His brothers remember every mistake, but never give him the responsibility or opportunity to take his place in the family business. So, he spends three weeks out of every month working at a mine in the back-end of nowhere. But then Amy moves to town to help run his pregnant sister-in-law’s bakery, and suddenly home seems to be where his heart is.
Amy’s move was only ever meant to be temporary, but when tragedy strikes the Mathews family, Amy finds herself unable to move on. As she and Tom get closer, Amy finds every excuse to stay: first, she claims it’s for the family, then she claims it’s for the shop. But maybe, it’s for her own heart…
“I couldn’t put this book down from the first pages. Even when I had to get up to find some Kleenex, I didn’t want to stop reading. I can’t wait to read the stories of Tom’s older brothers.” – Betsy N., Reviewer