Reinvention on Launch Day: THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING

louise millerToday is launch day for our Louise. I feel emotional, not just because I’ve known Louise longer than any of the other Debs or because, as a local, I will be able to celebrate in person with Louise tonight (which I will, with great joy!), but because Louise is the last to launch during our season as Debs. While we still eagerly await the launch of Abby’s book come January, the ball for us is ending, and in less than four weeks, we will pass on our tiaras to a new Deb Ball class. We will be moving on to new adventures. And Louise starts that adventure today, as she makes a big transition, a huge reinvention: she is no longer an “aspiring novelist” but is now a “published novelist.” This is all the more apropos, as THE CITY’ BAKERS GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING is a novel about reinvention.

Livvy Rawlings is a pastry chef who accidentally sets fire to the club where she bakes. In an attempt to escape, she moves to Guthrie, Vermont, where she takes a job at an inn. Even here, though, she discovers that life can still not live up to expectations and whether to stay or go is a difficult decision she must make. Livvy isn’t the only one in the novel trying to move both literally and figuratively past hurt and mistakes (I won’t say more for fear of divulging spoilers), and it’s a poignant story about creating the life you want. One of my favorite things about Livvy is her literal identity changes; with each new triumph or despair, out comes the hair dye and a fantastical new shade for her locks.

Livvy is the kind of character we can all relate to. I can’t speak for others, but so many times I’ve longed to run away from my life, when a relationship goes bad, when a job turns sour. On one or two occasions, I have done just that, escaping abroad for a few months or relocating across the country. But Livvy does it with such humor and grace and with a sometimes snarky (but always funny) attitude. She has so many layers, as a chef, as a woman, as a banjo player (and while all the reviewers seem to focus on the pastry chef aspect, I learned much about bluegrass music from the novel!). Livvy is someone you’d love to befriend in real life.

Luckily, I have the next best thing: I’ve befriended the author who created Livvy.

Congratulations, Louise Miller, on an amazing book. Everyone, go out and read THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING. I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

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Jennifer S. Brown is the author of MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin). The novel, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war. Learn more at www.jennifersbrown.com.

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