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Vanity Fare

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  1,223 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
A charming novel about a 40-year-old Brooklyn mother, recently divorced, who starts writing copy for a bakery, discovers a knack for food-related literary puns, and becomes entangled in a love triangle.

Molly Hagan is overwhelmed.

Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman, her six year-old son is questioning her authority, and now, so is she. In order to pay her Broo
Paperback, 408 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Vanity Fare by Megan CaldwellThe Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel FrederickChristmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny ColganThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderA Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood
must read
1st out of 191 books — 31 voters
Presence by Perie WolfordMy Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel CohnRacing Savannah by Miranda KenneallyVanity Fare by Megan Caldwell
to read 2013
5th out of 97 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jane Stewart
It needed a better story. Too much telling, not enough showing. It’s missing the feel-good that I expect from romance.

This was first person. The author did not show enough about other characters’ motivations or actions. That should have been done with dialogue and actions. Instead it felt flat. All feelings were in the head of Molly for example: I’m tired. I need my coffee. This guy hires me. He says I did a good job. That guy wants to have sex with me. I say no. He’s too self absorbed. I like t
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
A copy of Vanity Fare was provided to me by William Morrow for review purposes.

Molly thought she had hit rock bottom when her husband of 10 years left her and their six year-old son for a younger woman. That wasn't rock bottom though. Rock bottom came when she finds out her soon to be ex-husband has also lost his job (and his ability to pay her child support) and also depleted their savings leaving Molly with nothing to pay the bills. She ends up being hired as a copywri
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Jan 28, 2015 Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) rated it really liked it
Sometimes you find books that you hear are either good or not, depending on the ratings sometimes. And then when you read the book yourself, you find that they were right. Or you find a nice surprise and actually like the book.

I really liked this one. The writing was good, especially the food mentions and descriptions of the different food book titles for each chapter.

Oh right, the book. I wasn't sure I was going to like this. But the more I read it, the more I wanted to see the MC succeed for h
Apr 23, 2013 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
This is a light entertaining contemporary romance novel about a woman who has to get onto her two feet and rejoin the world after her husband leaves her for another woman.

Molly Hagen has been left in a lurch. Her slimeball husband Hugh left her and her young son for a younger woman. But to make matters worse, Hugh now claims that he lost his job and has no money for support. Molly calls on her Mom for help, but the Mom has lost a mint day trading, and actually has to come live with Molly, as wel
Christine Edison
Jan 09, 2013 Christine Edison rated it it was ok
Books? Check.
Book puns? Check.
Fun love story ala Pride & Prejudice? Check.

And yet -- ho hum.

I wanted to like this book, but I didn't care for the main character. She was so needy that I wondered how her friends could stand her. It's been a year since her separation and she still hasn't tried to find a job? Come on. Even the puns didn't liven things up much, and the story seemed predictable. Eventually I started reading just the chapters beginnings to see the puns, but even that got boring
Nov 14, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
I won this book from Library Thing, and it arrived the day after I finished Heading Out to Wonderful. I was in a funky frame of mind, suffering from book hangover, so I picked it up and immediately started reading it. It was fun and silly, and the perfect antidote to the heaviness I was feeling. This is normal for me, I do usually try to balance the books I read so if I read something pretty emotional I follow up with something easy. I started this when I was reading Joyce Carol Oates books’ bac ...more
"A novel of lattes, literature, and love"? Sounds like the story of my life, if you change "lattes" to "coffee" or "espresso" and don't mind the loss of alliteration. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for Molly, the 40-something discarded wife/single mother involved, my life is safely my own. Still, this made an amusing diversion from some of other stuff I'm reading of late (Sholem Aleichem for a book club, sequel to a complex science fiction as an AR, a Nordic noir that's being passed aroun ...more
Chocolate & Croissants
Jan 16, 2013 Chocolate & Croissants rated it really liked it
Yes I am a shallow book reader, the cover alone drew me in. Chocolate chip cookies, old books on the cover, literature and love (I am not a latte person, but a cup of tea would work well with me).

This is the book I took home with me on the plane at Christmas. It was the perfect read. Molly the main character is faced with major financial challenges after her cheating husband walks out on her and her 6 year old. Molly finds herself with a job helping Simon open up a pastry shop. The job seems per
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Dec 26, 2012 Rachel Kramer Bussel rated it it was amazing
Molly Hagan wants to be a good mom to her son, especially now that her newly separated husband won't be able to pay the bills. She also wants to feel more fulfilled than she has as she's let her needs be subsumed in her marriage. Enter a copywriting job helmed by two hot men, kitchen whiz Simon and serious but hunky Nick. She's soon working closely with both of them, dreaming up literary paeans to Simon's baking skills leading up to the launch of his bakery, while dealing with her mom moving in ...more
Sue Grimshaw
Sep 18, 2012 Sue Grimshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forty year old Molly Hagan is at wits end - her husband lost his job, and has left her for a younger woman and to top it all off he can't make good on his child support. Working freelance as a copywriter Molly quickly realizes she needs to up her game & figure out the next page in her life, which now will include a career &/or at least a better paying job.

A good friend & also her freelance employer sets her up on an interview for a position creating promo ads for a new bakery. Low &a
(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
Favorite Quote: “What was wrong with us that people kept leaving?”

Molly Hagan is having a bad day. Her husband has not only left her for a younger woman but has also lost his job in the process. With a small child to care for and no steady income, Molly needs to step up her game. When an old friend offers her a plum position of writing copy for an up and coming bakery, Molly jumps in feet first only to find herself swiftly rethinking her plans when the job threatens to overwhelm her. Engaging in
Melissa Mitchell
Mar 11, 2013 Melissa Mitchell rated it liked it
I actually liked this more than I thought I would. Or should? Look, it's not our beloved Jane or Lucy M. It's not Dickens or Tolstoy or the consistently depressing Hardy {author got bonus points for feeling the same way I do about Thomas Hardy}. But being honest, that's not why we pick up chick lit like this.

It's formulaic, certainly. But despite that, I enjoyed it. I was invested in the girl getting the guy - the right guy, that is. I disliked Romantic Interst #1 fairly quickly. She took a lit
Apr 01, 2013 Nova rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I loved the main character's sense of humor. Molly has a way about her I can relate to. I love how the book has little blurbs at the beginning of the chapters, and recipes in the back of the book. I read this book in one day because it flowed nicely and I kept waiting to see what else was going to happen. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more of Megan Caldwell's works.
Tina  Peacock (Bookcrack)
Jan 14, 2013 Tina Peacock (Bookcrack) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Full review coming at but just have to cheer for this book as it really stands out as a favorite since the beginning of 2013.

Vanity Fare took me completely by surprise and by that I mean that I knew I would like it ( I mean if the heroine's love of coffee alone didn't make me feel a kinship with her I'd be lying) but in the end I loved it. Why? It had the look and feel of NYC (which I miss), a relatable heroine, and quick, snappy, not overly snarky dialogue that I love. Plus, t
Jan 13, 2013 Cheryl rated it liked it
Molly Hagan must get her feet wet and enter the working class world again. Her husband has left her and their son, Aidan for a younger woman. This means that Molly must find a way to support her and Aidan and pay for insurance.

Molly’s friend, John offers Molly a job opportunity being a copy writing for a new bakery. The chef is Simon, who is one of the most in demand and hottest chefs around. Besides working with Simon, Molly will be working with Nick. This would not be a problem if Nick was no
Molly Hagan is still struggling to adjust to life as a newly-single mother when she receives notice that her soon-to-be-ex can no longer afford child support. Suddenly that world that seemed intimidating but doable is a lot more treacherous as with no job and no child support, she has no money in which to feed her child. Much to her chagrin and dismay, she is forced to quickly find a job for the first time in six years. Enter her friend John, with whom she has worked in the past, and who has a t ...more
Sep 17, 2016 Kathryn rated it liked it
Just like some of the flaky pastries described by the main character who is copywriting for a bakery, this book doesn’t have a lot of substance to it, but it was just what I needed at the time. It was light, an easy read, and I could identify with some aspects of the main character, so it was a really enjoyable read for me. 3.5 ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
Cute. Fans of pastry and puns will eat it up!
Jan 03, 2013 Shirley rated it really liked it
I devoured Vanity Fare, relishing and savouring the ingredients therein. A delicious mix of a snarky protagonist, attractive men and humour made this novel so much fun to read! Add some decadent recipes at the end (courtesy of Emily Isaac of Trois Pommes Patisserie) and you have a complete package for an afternoon of you time!

Faced with the uncertainty of a single mom raising a six year old with no income, Molly must do things she would never do in a million years like taking on a copywriting jo
Nov 03, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
Molly Hagan's husband has left her and she needs to get a job -- quick. Said husband has just informed her that he's lost his job and can no longer provide child support and Molly's insurance is running out. Fortunately a friend comes through with some temporary contract work that involves copywriting for an up and coming bakery in the city. The chef behind the concept is a hot (literally and figuratively) Englishman hoping their location near the New York Library will draw crowds. Molly's well ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Sharon rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It started out okay, about midway through I wondered why I was even finishing it, and then it picked up again until the end. Molly is in the process of getting a divorce and is the mother to 6 year old Aidan. She does copywriting freelance work for an old college friend whose client is opening a bakery near the New York Public Library.

What I liked:
The puns at the beginning of each chapter describing the baked goods were really amusing.
Molly's therapy sessi
Life Between Coffee Spoons
May 02, 2013 Life Between Coffee Spoons rated it really liked it
Thankfully the contents of this book are just as appealing and delectable as the pile of old books (and even the plate of chocolate chip cookies) on the cover that drew me in.

Molly is middle-aged and suddenly a single mom after her scummy husband left her for a younger woman. The cherry on top is that he lost his job at the same time, leaving him unable to pay child support or alimony. Suddenly it's imperative that she find a job, not an easy feat for someone who has been out of the workforce fo
Dec 20, 2012 Aimee rated it really liked it
Wow- I loved everything about this book. Vanity Fare has an interesting story, great characters, wit, charm, and some great recipes in the back. The main plus for the book for me was the main character, Molly, I really related to her a lot. I am not divorced but I am in my 40s, love to read, have a six year old I adore, and love baked goods just like Molly. Caldwell does such a great job of showing Molly's faults and weaknesses but still making her someone you would love to have for a best frien ...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
This was mutton dressed as lamb; just a formulaic romance with predictable characters and plot elements pretending to appeal to foodies and literature lovers. About-to-be-divorced Molly Hagan, a financially-challenged mother of one 6 year-old son, is hired as a copywriter for a celebrity chef's new Manahattan baker. Because the shop is near NY Public Library, the bakery has a literary theme. Thus the overly punnish chapter headings (Much Ado About Muffins, Portrait of a Ladyfinger, Remembrance o ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Vanity Fare
Megan Caldwell

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Divorce turns Molly into one heck of a new woman.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I found this book to be fun, absorbing and thoughtful. Molly's husband Hugh leaves her...alone with their son and almost no money. Molly steps up, grows up and deals with life. Molly has great friends, an amazing therapist and a fab sense of humor. These attributes help her to deal with her new life circumstances.

What I loved about this book...

Molly and
Dec 29, 2012 Jay rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review, ebooks, arc
Vanity Fare is tagged as a novel of lattes, literature, and love and that’s a perfect description of the book. Molly Hagan is a 40-year old woman living in Brooklyn, who’s been recently divorced and faced with finding a way to support herself and her son with only an unused English degree. Through a friend, Molly finds herself working as a freelance copywriter for a sexy British chef opening a pastry cafe. Her idea? Matching pastry items with long-loved novels.

This book is for anyone who has ev
Jan 25, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
Quite enjoyable! Though when I asked for it on my Amazon wish list, my husband misunderstood and got me a magazine subscription to Vanity Fair. Oops! We sorted that our quickly. I really enjoyed the characters and especially liked how the main character (gese it's only been a few weeks and I forgot her name - mommy brain!) dealt with all that was thrown at her. Liked the leads into each chapter. It was a very cute idea and nice way to show progress on the work project without taking away from th ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
I love novels that are basically completely character driven and don't have crazy complex plots. It's a nice change of pace to go on complex emotional journeys with characters.

Molly certainly goes on a serious journey. Not only internally but romantically as well. I was charmed by Molly and thoroughly enjoyed watching her figure herself out as a woman, mother, and partner. Finding herself takes time and with her husband having left her for a younger woman she struggles with how to redefine what
Amanda Bonilla
Apr 20, 2013 Amanda Bonilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I might gush about this book a little, because I absolutely adored it! Heartfelt, witty, and emotional. I usually gauge a good book by whether or not it makes me cry, and I teared up more than once while reading this. I could relate to Molly's character, her insecurities, and I cheered her on as she found her inner strength.

I loved the food/literature puns that preceded each chapter and the supporting characters were wonderful. There was nothing overdone about this story. It felt real. Th
Dec 18, 2012 Lindsay rated it liked it
First, a disclaimer: I received this book in a goodreads giveaway.
This story of forty-something Molly Hagan is pretty well summed up by the books subtitle: literature, lattes, and love. She is a mother in the middle of a divorce trying to find happiness( and a way to make a living) on her own. So she begins writing copy for a new bakery.
My favorite part of the book was actually Molly's pun-full descriptions of the bakery items. I always love a good pun, cheesy as they may be. This book was a lit
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