Over the past year, we five Debutantes have cheered each other on, cheered each other up, and bumbled our way through the publication process together. So it’s no surprise that after eleven months of this, we’ve come to know each other very well.
But there are also a bunch of other women we’ve gotten to know along the way, shadow women who live in different centuries and places, and who face challenges far more heartbreaking than our publishing travails: our characters. Dottie, Rose, Lucy, Justine, Maddy, Rory, and Livvy have taken every step of our journeys with us, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them almost as much as I have their creators.
This week, the rest of the world finally gets to meet one of my very favorites: Livvy, star of Louise’s delightful book, THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING.
Livvy is a pastry chef living in Boston with nothing but her abandonment issues and a married boyfriend when she accidentally sets the club where she works on fire. She flees in shame to Guthrie, Vermont, crashing at her best friend’s house and then at a homey little inn that happens to need a pastry chef, trying to figure out what to do next. What she ends up doing is growing up, but she takes her sweet (pun intended) time getting there. Sleepy Guthrie has never seen anyone quite like Livvy, with her prickly temper, her loud mouth, and her even louder hair dye, but her generous heart is never in doubt. She finds her way in slowly, first as the pastry chef, then as the banjo player in the local old-time music band. She gets to know an older couple who welcome her as the daughter she never knew she always wanted to be, and — perhaps — finds love with the fiddle player who has done some running away of his own. There is also a pie baking contest, which she finds she very much wants to win, for reasons that surprise her. But before she can embrace any of these things, she must overcome her tendency to run away from the people who want to love her.
Livvy’s groping toward happiness is moving and charming and funny and believable. I can honestly say that, of all the characters I’ve met this year, she is the most fun, and the one I’d most like to have a drink with. I’m so glad you all can finally get to know her as I have.
Livvy, meet world. World, meet Livvy. I have a feeling you’re going to get along like a house (or a club) on fire.
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