Monday 22 July 2019

The Ingredients Of Us by Jennifer Gold Book Review*

I've read so many good books recently, I've been flying through them which is fun for me but not so great for the bank account or shelf space - the stack of books beside my bed is actually out of control at the moment! The last book I read, Gone by Leona Deakin blew me away but that was quite a heavy mystery type thriller so The Ingredients Of Us by Jennifer Gold was a much needed lighthearted read.
Cake on the front cover of book
'Elle, an accomplished baker, has a recipe for every event in her life. But when she discovers her husband's infidelity, she doesn't know what to make of it. Jam, maybe? Definitely jam. Fed up with the stale crumbs of her marriage, Elle revisits past recipes and the events that inspired them. A recipe for scones reminds her of her father's death, cinnamon rolls signify the problematic courtship with her husband, and a batch of chocolate cookies casts Elle in a less-than-flattering light. Looking back, Elle soon realises that some ingredients were missing all along. After confronting her husband, Elle indulges her sweet tooth in other ways, including a rebound that just leaves her more confused. As secrets from the past collide with the conflicts of the present, Elle struggles to manage her bakery business and maintain the relationships most important to her. In piecing her life back together, will Elle learn to take the bitter with the sweet?'

My review

Okay first of all, that cover! I know that's not what books are really about but this would certainly stand out to me in a bookshop, anything with or about cake is a winner for me. The fact that this is so much about baking and how Elle turns to it in hard times was what really caught my attention in the first place. Baking is my favourite hobby, it doesn't matter how I'm feeling, it just makes me feels good so for that reason alone, I felt like I could relate to Elle. She has her own bakery with friend Bonnie which is like my dream, so obviously that takes centre stage throughout and because of that there are actually several recipes throughout which I thought was a nice touch.

I found from the beginning I really liked Elle. Her ambition and love for baking shone through. All of the characters in the book were developed well but Elle in particular, I just grew fond of quickly. I also couldn't help but feel for her when we get into the real nitty gritty and discover husband Tom has been having an affair. From here we go back and forth to the days where their relationship was just starting, Elle's bakery was getting off the ground and when she loses her father. Though it does tend to flit from past to present each chapter, it flows incredibly well and allows for you to discover what's led to their marriage falling apart. It felt very authentic, a realistic look at life and how marriage does need to be worked at over the years.

Whilst from the cover you might assume this is a bit of a girly and fluffy read, I actually found it packed a real emotional punch. Yes, it was lighthearted and there were funny moments between Elle and friends, but to me it was so much more than that. A strong story that deals with loss, betrayal and trust, topics that I'm sure are relatable for so many people. I just loved Jennifer's writing too and it was a book that once I started I just wanted to keep coming back to it. Every opportunity I had, I was reading another chapter. I even like that the ending keeps you guessing too when normally I'd prefer for everything to be rounded off nicely. After everything have Elle and Tom managed to work their way back to one another? I'd love to read more from Jennifer in the future and another book about these particular characters would be wonderful.

The Ingredients Of Us was a really unexpected but enjoyable read and I actually think I'll be going back through it again soon to try out some of the recipes. Warm scones with jam and cream - yes please. I've never found a recipe which gets them just right so maybe this is the one!

Have any books surprised you recently?

*Book was provided via NetGalley 

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Heather Nixon said...

Not for me, sadly! I've been in such a reading slump recently :( x

AlishaValerie said...

Although it doesn't sound like a book I would enjoy, I love that you have fallen in love with it. 💜

With love, Alisha Valerie x |

jennyinneverland said...

I definitely would look at this cover and assume it's a light and fun read. But I definitely prefer books with a bit of emotion in them too!


Tiffany Timms said...

I hate going through a reading slump. When I'm feeling like that I try to embrace the break from it and hope the urge to read again will soon come back, or I re-read one of my favourites, that usually inspires me again xx

Tiffany Timms said...

I really did Alisha! It totally surprised me xx

Tiffany Timms said...

I love that it had so much more depth to it. I wasn't expecting it to be so emotional xx

Sophie said...

I really like the sound of this! And I think on some level I'd find it relatable too, in terms of different dishes being associated with different feelings/ events. It sounds really lighthearted so definitely wouldn't expect the emotional punch in there. Glad you enjoyed it so much! x


Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you Sophie! It was such an interesting read xx

Joy said...

I enjoy books based around food. I read The Kosher Dehli recently and it was great.

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