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Simply from Scratch

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  686 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Zell und Nick waren zum Heulen glücklich: Skifahren, bis das Gesicht einfriert, Tanzen im Wohnzimmer, nächtliche Rennen mit ihrem Windhund Captain Ahab. Und eine ganze Fußballmannschaft an Kindern wollten sie haben. Dann verunglückt Nick, als er nach dem Hurrikan ›Katrina‹ den Menschen in New Orleans beim Wiederaufbau hilft.
Zell zieht sich völlig zurück, spricht nur noch m
Kindle Edition
Published (first published July 6th 2010)
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I wasn’t expecting this at all; I certainly didn’t expect it to thump my heart around like it did. Look at the cover. I bought it because it’s written by a fraternity brother’s sister-in-law. I figured, hell, she’s got the guts to drop everything and freelance fulltime, I should support the cause. I figured I’d get around to it someday, would read about 30 pages, find that it wasn’t my thing (I mean look at the cover!), and maybe let my girlfriend or sister read it or something.

And the funny th
Feb 21, 2011 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diva Scavenger Hunt - Heart
Recommended to Suzanne by: Stephanie (StephTheBookworm)
I'm exhausted and spent in a good way. This is the best book I have read in a long, long time and my first 5-star read this year. Though it sounds cliched, I can't think of a better way to say that I laughed out loud, I cried big weeping sobs at times, and laughed and cried simultaneously several times. This novel reached the darkest corners of my heart and warmed them in an almost 'divine union' kind of way. The story was so bittersweet, redemptive, heart-warming, adorable, lovable in every way ...more
Alicia Bessette's debut marries a big social issue with an intimate story of mourning. From the opening page there's a sad edge to the humor found in Zell's narration that neatly highlights both the setting (a wintery Massachusetts's town) and the tenuous bonds between characters that once felt united forever. The relationship between Zell and Ingrid gives the story its best, most emotionally profound moments -- moreso than the romantic moments between Zell and Ingrid's determined but struggling ...more
Alice Bessette's SIMPLY FROM SCRATCH was an enjoyable read...sort of a quirky little story with interesting characters. I liked the fact that it wasn't just another happy ending--not that the ending was unhappy, but all of the loose ends weren't tied up in a perky bow.
Zell, the main character, is a young widow. Her husband has been dead for three years, yet she can't seem to get past his death at all. She doesn't mix with their old friends, and lives a reclusive life in their home with their ado
Entertaining, light, and fluffy...kind of like a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. It made me crave apple pie, but the romance included in the story made me roll my eyes:)

Zell has been a widow for a year after losing her husband in a freak accident while on a rescue mission post hurricane Katrina, when nine year old Ingrid Knox and her father move in next door. The two become friends and decide to enter a cooking contest, which is a good distraction as both have issues they are trying to work through. Adding depth to the storyline there are also some mysteries to solve , some humor ( as some of their cooking projects sound truly awful) and of course some hearts t ...more
Matthew Quick
Beautiful novel written by a beautiful person.
Dear Goodreads,

First, let me thank you for the free book. You are awesome in so many ways, even Ms. Browning would be unable to count them. That being said, I'm sorry, but I cannot review this book properly. It wasn't because I was incapacitated (though I did seriously consider utilizing this method to make it more fun) or because I'm anti-foodie (though I really don't mind if my burger is cooked at a McDonald's or Little Owl's. Hell, more power to those with a love for food and the preparation
Girls Gone Reading
First, let’s accentuate the positive. The chronology of Simply from Scratch really drives it. Certain elements of the plot are left mysterious, and you really do want to know how it ends. I was completely unsure about what Zell’s last present would be, whose Ingrid’s mother would be, and how Nick was killed. I think these mysteries made this book rise above the normal “chick lit” fare and made it more literary.

Simply from Scratch also got me when Zell remembered how life used to be. Bessette had
Aug 15, 2010 Claire rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: contemporary realistic fiction, grief
This is an entirely charming tale of Zell, Ingrid and Garrett amid a cast of wonderful, warm, wacky small-town characters set in snowy little Wippamunk.

Zell is still reeling more than a year from the day she learned that Nick died instantly in a freak accident while on a mission in post Katrina New Orleans. Taking a shot at redemption, she decides to enter the Polly Pinch of Love Live Desserts that Warm the Soul baking contest. This is a leap because Nick did All the cooking before he died. Ente
Miko Lee
This was an entertaining, quick, one sitting read focused on a young widow, her next door neighbors (a 9 year old girl and her hunky law school attending dad) as they embark on entering a cooking contest. Ok so right there the story is told, but it is fun in the telling. Very much a beach read, but alas where is the sun?? I was irritated that the cover photo art features a girl's hands holding a cake pan. Her hands are very pale and this bugged me since the girls is African American. Jeez, didn' ...more
What a fantastic debut novel! The characters are complex and the plot was good enough to capture my interest through the end. I was fascinated by Zell and the habits she picked up to cope with her husband's death. There were several phrases repeated regularly throughout the book that are very endearing; I loved "Zell's widow style" and the idiosyncrasies that were given to other characters.

Simply from Scratch was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to Bessette's next book.
Helen Isitt
This book is called Scrumpy Delight for Polly Pinch according to the cover of the copy I own. I bought it from the clearance table and when I began to read, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. However, I fell in love with the central character, Zell, and the little girl neighbour, Ingrid. I could identify well with what Zell was going through and loved that it was the little girl who virtually forced her out of her funk. A thoroughly enjoyable and often poignant read.
It's rare I cry while reading a book. Of course, Robin Williams died while I was reading this book, But I think I was teary eyed before I found out of his passage. I can count about 4 books previous to this one which made me well up in one way or another. 4 out of a million, it seems. This book is now added to such list. It seemed I cried throughout. Death being so prevalent on tv and the news, and this woman in the book dealing with her own grieving and loss of her husband. The author did a fan ...more
More than a year after her husband was killed during a relief mission in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, Rose-Ellen “Zell” can’t bring herself to move on with her life. Zell who has lived her life with her meals provided via take out or the microwave. So much so, that her husband could even hide surprises for her in the oven knowing it would never be used.

A simple error by a postal carrier changes her life. She receives a magazine touting a baking contest with a $20,000 grand prize. She

Rose-Ellen Roy, geborene Carmichael, genannt Zell, lebt in der Gemeinde Wippamunk. Sie liebt ihr kleines Örtchen, dennoch ist sie sich seit gut eineinhalb Jahren dieser Menschen nicht mehr bewusst, die sie zum Teil jahrelang kennt. Ihr Ehemann Nick ist bei der Besichtigung eines Kirchenbaus tödlich verunglückt…


Irgendwie schwach. Das Gefühl des Vermisstwerdens kam gar nicht richtig herüber. Sicher – an der einen oder anderen Stelle wurde Zell gefühlsmäßig intimer und en
 Gigi Ann
Zell is a widow who lives in Wippamunk, Massachusetts. Her husband, Nick, a news photographer, was killed while on a mission trip to New Orleans. He always did the cooking, because Zell didn't know how to cook. A year after his death she decides to try her hand at baking something for a contest she read about in a magazine, the winner will win a prize of $20,000. Zell would like to win the money and donate it to to the hurricane survivors in Nick's memory. She turns on the oven and unbeknownst t ...more
A quick and easy read with a surprising amount of heart to it.

Young widow is "stuck" in her grief....and the grief is tangible and understandable the way the author presents it. The "memory smack" is particularly effective in its use - especially since the widow isn't the only one who gets them. Grief can be tricky to write - too much handwringing, too aloof, etc etc. This one was very human and rang very true for me.

There are a few things that aren't so great - the dog's storyline didnt resonat
Rachel Carr
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Alicia Bessette’s writing is compassionate and sweet. As she writes this new novel Simply from Scratch we are overthrown with the illumination of death and the devotion that friends and family have for their loved ones. As we watch Rose Ellen “Zell” Roy deal with the death of her husband, Nick, we see her pain and sorrow, yet so much more. In an homage to her husband she dons his camouflage apron and att
What a touching, moving story. Zell is dealing daily with the grief of losing her husband who has been her lifetime friend. She is wholed up in her house working from home and her only acquaintance being her husband and hers dog Ahab.

Zell one day receives her neighbors magazine and see's an ad for a baking contest. She decides to try to enter because the winner wins the amount that her husband wanted to donated to help Katrina victims.

She soons becomes friends with Ingrid a 9 year old, adorably
Received an advance copy for review.

I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and the story was paced well. The characters were also very believable. I did think that some of the pieces that came together at the end were a little contrived, but it's fiction, so it's obviously going to have an element of "someone made this up." :)

Each chapter is separated into three sections and speaks from the viewpoints of 3 different people. All of the stories intermingle and add to the overall story.

We meet Zell Carmichael as she's attempting to enter a baking contest. Unaware that there is something in the oven, she turns it on to preheat, and is soon overcome by smoke. Luckily, the local volunteer fire department shows up, gets Zell and her dog Ahab out of the house, and deals with the fire.

Zell is a widow who lives in Wippamunk, Massachusetts. Her husband, Nick, a news photographer, was killed while on a mission trip to New Orleans. She and Nick grew up in Wippamunk, along with most of t
This book has well drawn characters, and an original and engaging story.

In some ways, this is almost two stories. It is set in two locations -occuring in the town in Minnesota where Zell lives, with flashbacks set in New Orleans. The events unfold in two time periods - opening about a year after her husband's death and interspersed with emails and memories. There are two sides to the character - the one living with loss and the one re-connecting with her friends and community. It is even writte
Woerterkatze Wörterkatze
Zell und Nick waren zum Heulen glücklich: Skifahren, bis das Gesicht einfriert, Tanzen im Wohnzimmer, nächtliche Rennen mit ihrem Windhund. Und eine ganze Fußballmannschaft an Kindern wollten sie haben. Doch dann passiert die Katastrophe: Nick verunglückt tödlich. Zell zieht sich völlig zurück – bis eine ganze Reihe kleiner Wunder ihre Trauer in Zukunft verwandelt.

Zell ist Medizinillustratorin und lebt seit dem Tod ihres Mannes Nick mit ihrem Windhund Ahab allein in der Doppel
Tara Carpenter
This was a cute, common little book about a grieving widow and how she copes with her new life. There wasn't much original about the situation or plot, but the characters were still likable. I wanted to give it just 3 stars because on the surface, it doesn't seem like anything special or unique.

But... I was impressed by how the author dealt with the main character's depression and emotion. Bessette didn't belittle the emotions and the things she was going through, but she could laugh at herself
I listed chick-lit as one of my bookshelves for this book, but that was with some hesitation. It deals with the serious topic of grieving, but Alicia Bessette keeps the writing style humorous, but not insulting to the topic of grieving. She keeps a sadness in Zell's, the main character, humor. Each chapter is told from three different character's viewpoint; Nick's, the dead husband, is told from emails sent from his trip to New Orleans, where he was killed.

The second topic covered by Bessette th
Stephanie (StephTheBookworm)
Dare I say this is book perfection? Simply From Scratch is a flawless debut. I never wanted it to end, and nothing was going to stop me from reading it, not even obnoxious yelling football freaks in my living room who would normally distract (read: bother) me immensely. I sat beside them and read away, completely disconnecting from the world around me and falling in love with the incredible cast of characters.

Zell is a young widow. Her husband, Nick, died on a mission trip to New Orleans to help
Mar 27, 2011 Jenny rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Carrie
Simply from Scratch is about Zell, a young woman who unexpectedly loses her husband when he goes on a mission trip to help rebuild New Orleans. The book chronicles her grief, almost a year and a half later, as she attempts to move on with her life by trying to win a baking contest, which will give her the money she needs to give to a New Orleans charity to continue the effort of the rebuild, a goal her husband told her in an email before he died. Throughout the book, the small Massachusetts town ...more
I randomly picked up this book from the library as I was heading out-- totally on impulse. I had no expectations of it, I just though it sounded somewhat interesting. Actually, I wondered how an author could write an entire book about a young widow who befriends an 8 year old neighbor girl and embarks on a cooking contest with her.

Although I could never consider this one of my favorite books, I found myself enjoying it. The main character, Zell, lost her husband while he was on a mission trip t
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
I loved the cover and it was about cooking. How could I go wrong? I couldn't. Quirky characters and a cooking contest add a bit of lightness to what could be a heavy, depressing topic of grief and recovery. Instead, it's a sweet story about friendship and recreating a life after a devastating loss. I liked Zell. I loved Ingrid.

The story wraps up neatly, but wasn't completely predictable. It's first person for Zell and present tense for everyone else, which is so awkward. When I started it, I ke
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Alicia Bessette's first novel, A Pinch Of Love (also published as Simply From Scratch), became an international bestseller immediately upon publication. Library Journal called it “a strong, richly detailed debut novel, with a truly lovable heroine." Alicia was born and raised in central Massachusetts. A pianist and freelance writer, she and her husband, novelist Matthew Quick, live in New England. ...more
More about Alicia Bessette...
A Pinch of Love: A Novel

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