Written by Katie Condo
Lou, or Elizabeth Luella, is a restaurant owner in Milwaukee. As such people in her position are wont to do, she brushes with a food critic who gives her budding restaurant a horrible review on the same day her fiancé is caught in bed with another woman. The critic, Allister Waters, or just Al for short, is a droll and scathing Brit who takes joy out of ripping people’s restaurants apart whether they are good, bad, or indifferent.
With an opening like that how could you not root for Lou? She’s just a normal person, the type you’d likely meet just walking on the sidewalk and not think twice about it. Amy E Reichert’s charming and witty debut novel, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, has all the qualities of a great rom-com, just in book form and light on calories. It’s definitely worth the read.
Lou and Al meet up at Lou’s favorite pub where they begin discussing Milwaukee. As she extols the virtues of Milwaukee Al becomes more and more skeptical that the city could possibly have any semblance of a real food scene. To prove him wrong, naturally, Al invites Lou to take him on a food tour of Milwaukee.
The one parameter that Lou and Al set is that both promise not to discuss work when they’re with each other. Which consequently means that neither discovers that they both work in the food business. This is where the novel takes a very “You’ve Got Mail” turn. For all you chick flick devotees out there (and there’s plenty of you, I’m one of them) there are definitely echoes of Captain Kelley and Joe Fox at play here. Which means that I absolutely loved it!
Without spoiling too much of the plot let me just say this: those looking for a breezy summer read that’s quick and satisfying should definitely consider adding The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake to their list. Amy E Reichert’s debut is sweet without being too cloy, smart without being disdainful, and makes a delightful treat if you’re wanting to curl up with a steamy mug of cocoa or lounge on the beach with a margarita. Bon Appétit!