Tag Archives: How to Eat a Cupcake

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel by Meg Donohue  (Harper, $13.99, 320 pages)

cupcake

This debut novel by Meg Donohue is set in San Francisco (the author’s home), and tells the tale of the young Annie Quintana who dreams of opening a bakery specializing in fine cupcakes.   Her dream is set to come true because the wealthy Julia St. Clair is willing to fund the business.   The problem is that Julia was once Annie’s best and worst friend (Annie’s mom having worked as a housekeeper for the St. Clairs).

Donohue paints The City as a place where folks engage in massive quantities of eating and drinking, and she does a great job of making various locations – including the largely Hispanic Mission District – come to life.   It’s likely that a number of male readers will, however, find this tale to be a bit too sweet in the telling for their taste.   But female readers may willingly be caught up in the knotty struggles of X chromosomal relationships.   How to Eat a Cupcake winds up being a type of psychological mystery in which the reader wants to find out what happens at the end.

cupcake-back-cover

Donohue displays a gift for dialogue in the debut and a certain sense of stylistic charm, but it’s hoped that she stretches herself a bit more in her next release.   (Perhaps her next novel will be set in Clovis?)

Recommended.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   “Beautifully written and quietly wise…”   Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March and The Bungalow.

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Ain’t She Sweet

How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel by Meg Donohue (Harper, $13.99, 320 pages)

Meg Donahue’s debut novel How to Eat a Cupcake is a delicious treat!

Annie Quintana, is an eccentric, artistic woman raised by her mother, a housekeeper and caretaker for a wealthy family in San Francisco.   Julia St. Clair, an astute, beautiful businesswoman, is the daughter of this fortunate family.   She grew up alongside Annie.   Estranged since high school due to a life-changing betrayal the girls are reunited when Annie, now a talented baker with a gift for creating unique cupcake flavors, brings desert to the St. Clair’s for a benefit event.

Julia, needing a project to create a distraction from a secret she is keeping from her betrothed, offers to finance and temporarily manage the business of a cupcakery for Annie.   Annie, still healing from her mother’s death, agrees to the partnership in order to fulfill her dream and follow in her mother’s baking footsteps.   Together Annie and Julie are forced to work together on a daily basis and put the past behind them.   However, when a series of vandalisms threatens to close down their shop, the women are not only forced to deal with their past, but embrace the secrets that surface and redefine the importance of friendship and family.

Donohue presents an interesting storyline with prose as vibrant and satisfying as a great recipe.   She layers her story with multidimensional characters and intertwining plots, most of which are unpredictable and maintain the reader’s interest throughout the story until it’s resolved in the end.

Donohue touches upon the complexities of social class and friendships and demonstrates how impressions and relationships change and that family bonds – no matter how they are defined – can withstand the test of time.

How to Eat a Cupcake is a delightful read and although a few of the scenes seem a bit farfetched, the typical reader will enjoy the novel to the very end.   If the storyline does not seem appealing, you will undoubtedly enjoy the book based on the detailed descriptions of the exotic cupcake flavors alone.   So get real comfy with your favorite latte and grab a rich cupcake because this mouth-watering novel is well recommended!

Kelly Monson

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   

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