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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

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You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

318 pages, Paperback

First published July 21, 2015

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About the author

Amy E. Reichert

6 books1,713 followers
Amy Reichert honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use.

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5 stars
3,666 (20%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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314 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,879 reviews
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,026 followers
October 23, 2016
I won't be doing a full review but let me share my thoughts about/while reading this book.

- I wanna go and visit Milwaukee. The city doesn't just serve as a backdrop but one of the characters in this book, vivid and colorful.

- I'm hungry. This book gave me a severe case of the munchies. Both characters are connected with the food industry. The heroine owns a small French restaurant while the hero is a food critic. Not only that, the characters in the book basically gave me a tour of Milwaukee's gastronomic delights. Seriously, don't read on an empty stomach.

- The romance is lovely. Sweet and light with great chemistry.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Angela (Reading Frenzy Book Blog).
932 reviews440 followers
July 26, 2016
3 stars?

I struggled with rating The Coincidence of Coconut Cake because my opinion depends on how I categorize the book.

Travel Guide: 3 stars
Food & Nutrition: 4 stars
Chick Lit: 2.5 stars
Romance: 2 stars
Writing: 2 stars
Coconut Cake Recipe: 4 stars

I have never had a desire to visit Milwaukee until now. The author does an excellent job of making Lou seem like the reader’s eager personal tour guide. I was just as enthralled as Al with the local attractions, customs, and cuisine. The food – oh my gosh, the food – sounded amazing! I was constantly hungry while reading this book. However, for me, the most successful romance in this story was between me and the food.

I don’t require a lot of heat in my romances but I need a little spark. The writing here is so cliché I didn’t even get a flicker.
His deft hands traced the path up her legs, circling slowly, as if polishing a precious stone.
Speaking of stone, there’s this gem:
Using her thumb as if she were opening a mussel, Lou popped the box open.
There’s a lot of talk about feelings in this book and not enough demonstration of honest emotions. Al and Lou spend a day together every couple weeks and the time in between is largely glossed over. The result is a somewhat choppy feel to the chapters and although both characters are likeable, my investment in them as a couple was delayed. There’s more chemistry in the humorous bromance between Al and John than the romance between Al and Lou.

The story itself is sweet but slow and extremely predictable, with the exception of one small twist at the end. Thank goodness for that Coconut Cake recipe at the end because it bumped up my rating to 3 stars. Then again, you can easily find a good recipe on Google.

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**

Reading Frenzy Book Blog
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,981 reviews195 followers
July 5, 2015
A wonderful and hard ride with a restauranteur chef and her relationships.
First thing, you have to make the cake at the end of the book. It is decadent, in all the right ways a cake should be and trust me you’ll be craving it among other foods at the end of this read. *Don’t read on an empty stomach.*
Lou is a young chef owner of a small restaurant in Milwaukee. Her business is finally coming out of the red and hopes are high for a successful future. She is engaged to a very successful man and works with two fantastic friends, everything is good. No, not really. Her fiancé’ is not what she has lead her heart to believe, her present happiness is also not exactly what her heart dreamed of. Then when a what should have been a fabulous day crashes and burns her happiness bubble everything changes. Changes, hurt and scar but they are not always bad, even extremely painful ones.
Al, is an unhappy Englishman stuck working in this, what he considers a nowhere city writing restaurant reviews. He hates living there and only thinks about the day he gets another job someplace else. While standing in line for coffee one day he smells the most wonderful scents and they are attached to a very attractive woman. She smells of bacon, coconut cake and vanilla and he is drawn to her. She tells him about her fiancé' and the cake she made him then goes about her day. They meet again, talk and he challenges her to prove her city is wonderful. They begin to explore and get to know each other. Later on he is instrumental in undoing her life’s dream and he doesn’t even know it.
Lou takes on the challenge of showing Al how wonderful Milwaukee is. Her life is crumbling down around her but she doesn’t pass the pain on, she lives and feels joy in the simple things. He finds himself starting to see the uniqueness in the city and develop feelings for this woman. Unfortunately, there are several secrets between them that will blow up and hurt deep.
What a lovely sweet romance, between the main couple and a few side characters. I loved the pacing, we got to know these people and their back stories. Good people, great histories, fabulous friendships.The couples exploration of the city, it’s festivals and cultural events had me wanting to visit the city. The food, was incredible, I think I dreamed of several of the goodies mentioned. I enjoyed every page, and will jump on the chance to read this authors future works.
Yes I made the cake here is picture with one of our dogs peeking

Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
February 10, 2016
It’s very apparent the author loves the city she calls home. This book reads more like a love letter to Milwaukee than anything else. The sights, the sounds, the local food and festivals were the focus, while Lou and Al’s connection was sort of put on the backburner. Don’t get me wrong, Milwaukee sounds like a fun place to visit, but I didn’t pick up this book because I needed a travel guide. I was craving a sweet romance.

The story turned out to be a bland dish at best, one I definitely wouldn’t order again. I was dying for some excitement, some passion, anything really. What I got were pages upon pages of minute details that didn’t add anything to the storyline – washing dishes (I already have to live through this torture on a daily basis, I really don’t want to read about it), food preparation, cookbook organization and having the entire layout of Lou’s surroundings described to me incessantly. Getting bored yet? If all of the unnecessary details were removed, I’m not sure how much of an actual story would be left.

When the focus wasn’t on the surroundings, it was obvious there were a few key ingredients missing. Things that make a romance enjoyable for me – chemistry, spark or even some intensity. I found Lou and Al’s relationship emotionless and disjointed, especially their dialogue. It was also hard to fathom that after months of spending time together and claiming to love her, Al still hid his job from Lou? Sorry, it was hard to choke that down.

I think by now it's pretty obvious, this was a complete miss for me. I seem to enjoy more character driven storylines.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
780 reviews12.2k followers
July 4, 2015
4.5 stars

Loved it!

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake follows the You've Got Mail storyline....Lou, a restauranteur/chef in Milwaukee, is engaged to high power attorney, Devlin. The same day that she finds another woman in her fiancee's house, Lou's restaurant is reviewed by an extremely harsh, but popular, restaurant critic. Needless to say, things do not go well. In the midst of this horrible day, Lou coincidentally meets Al, a British writer who hates Milwaukee. After another run-in at a pub, Lou decides she is going to show Al the Milwaukee she loves. Lou and Al's friendship turns to love....but Al doesn't know that Lou is the chef of the restaurant for which he wrote a scathing review, nor does Lou realize that Al is the critic who brought her restaurant to ruin.

The Coincidence if Coconut Cake is such a fun read. Reichert writes tantalizing, decadent descriptions of food and makes Milwaukee sound amazing! Lou and Al are both really likable characters, and you will be rooting for them to be together.

I received this book from Goodreads first-reads in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sherri Thacker.
1,212 reviews234 followers
November 22, 2022
Have you ever read a book and got to the very end and wanted to CLAP OUT LOUD because you loved it that much? The Coincidence of Coconut Cake did it for me!! I really enjoyed this book, from the very first page to the very last page. It’s my 2nd book by this author and even though I loved the book “The Simplicity of Cider” by Amy E. Reichert, I loved this book even more. There were laugh-out-loud moments and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. A fun book!! I read it in one day!!

EDIT 11/21/2022

I DID NOT READ THIS BOOK TWICE. Not sure why it’s adding to my total of books for 2022. Oh well.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
977 reviews2,655 followers
March 3, 2018
This book is very much an ode to Milwaukee and I happen to live in a northern suburb of Milwaukee. The story is a simple one really, girl meet boy, boy messes up then falls in love with girl, girl forgives him. That is the audiobook in a nutshell. I never write long reviews for audiobooks. It was an easy listen and it was fun for me to hear about all of the quirks of our city including custard, Friday fish fry and tailgating at Miller Park. I can't say the story was anything special but it was entertaining enough.
Profile Image for Cherie.
1,278 reviews113 followers
September 13, 2016
This book stuck to my fingers and would not let me put it down. I enjoyed the foodie information and exploring Milwaukee with the characters in the story. It was fun.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2021
I really enjoyed this one. Set in Wisconsin, the second State I visited in the USA. The only reason Illinois is first is that I had to fly into Chicago and then travel to Wisconsin, where my brother was living at the time. Nearly 30 years ago! I never made it to Milwaukee but I have heard him often talk about the Irish Fest held there every year.

I am not a fan of coconut but this book could change my mind... the cake sounded delicious ...

Devlin has arrived from the UK to work in Milwaukee as a Restaurant Reviewer for a local paper ... if you have read the premise you will know the gist of the story. Bad day at the office (restaurant), wrong place, wrong time, mistaken identity. A fun read with plenty of food references and descriptions.

Note to author, Irish soda bread comes from Ireland and not from Britain.

I suppose the book brought back memories of Friday Fish Fry, Steven's Point Brewery, getting to meet and stay with local folk from a small place in the Mid-West - having venison for breakfast (no, not a fan). Poor Rudolph... now that I think of it, Rudolph was the name of the place we stayed. Hearing about the Packers for the first time ... good times!

I know, I know. I complain about misrepresentation of the Irish and then I go and post a leprechaun!

Some great food descriptions.

I will mention Scribd again ... only for my subscription to that which costs me about ten euro per month, I probably wouldn't read half the books I do. Some books (ok, a lot of books) are not cheap but with Scribd I have access to a lot of books, audible and readable! I see this book would have cost me $16 on my kindle had I bought it direct from Amazon, so I've already made back almost twice fold my subscription cost! Always looking for some justification, aren't I?

Nice set of secondary characters too... was wondering if there will be more books about them. I have read another book by this author ... The Simplicity of Cider and I did enjoy it too.

I hope to get back to Wisconsin again some time in the future. Not a bad place (although maybe that's me looking through my rose coloured glasses remembering long ago on my first "big" holiday with my then boyfriend (now hubby)!

Profile Image for Leila.
408 reviews75 followers
January 31, 2021
4.5 foodgasm stars!

When I first read that this book takes place in the city of Milwaukee, all I could think about was the opening scene to my all-time favourite movie While You Were Sleeping where the heroine, Lucy, recalls childhood adventures with her father. “…he would tell me amazing stories…about strange and exotic lands...as we headed off to exciting destinations like...Milwaukee. lt’s amazing how exotic Wisconsin... isn’t.” Well, this book reads a bit like a love story about Milwaukee and made me want to stop and visit every site with Lou and Al.

It’s also a love story about food. Our heroine, Lou, is a small restaurant owner and a lover of food. She can create masterpieces from simple ingredients. Every description of every meal she makes in the story left me hungry!

This was such a sweet, adorable, cute, heartwarming, heartbreaking, charming, delightful…ok, I’ve run out of synonyms but I think you get the idea...story. I was in just the right mood for such a story and I really enjoyed it.
"Delight is indeed born in the heart. It sometimes also depends on the surroundings.”

I quite liked Lou. Although I couldn’t figure out in the beginning why she was with Devlin (her fiancé) in the first place, other than he asked and it was easy. I’m so glad that she finally stood up for herself with him, though it took catching him in his boxers with his secretary. I loved the family of friends that she had built around her, her sous chefs, the staff at her restaurant and especially the sweet regular customers, Otto and Gertrude (whose story caused me to cry).
There was something about Lou, about her kindness, her generosity, her quiet resiliency, he felt drawn to her.”

It took a bit for Al to grow on me. I loved watching him turn from a broody, grumpy, curmudgeon to a man completely in love with Lou. The British accent didn’t hurt either ;)
He grabbed Lou and pulled her tight with one arm, the other hand buried deep into hair. His blue eyes reminded her of when fire burned too hot.
“I’m best for you, Lou.”

Just a quick note for those that love a steamy romp - the love scenes in this story were ‘fade to black’ so if you’re looking for more you won’t find it here.

This was my first read from Amy Reichert and I don’t believe that it will be my last.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
870 reviews160 followers
February 20, 2020
"Delight is indeed born in the heart. It sometimes also depends on its surroundings."

While sitting at the porch, swatting away mosquitoes, with the strong odor of mosquito coil in the air with only my two cats for company (my mother long ago gave up the battle with the mosquitoes), I write this review, not exactly the setting in which I would relate to that quote. The mosquitoes being the only negative thing in my mind I can happily pen my thoughts on this. Oh the beauty of tropical countries, heat always swathing us in their embrace and mosquitoes not missing their opportunity to keep us company after the sun leaves. How wondrous *Heavy sarcasm* The difference between the book's setting and the reader's really astonish. It is somewhat amazing how a really good author can pluck us up from our setting and transport us to the setting of the book, however different it is that of the reader.

I apologize for my long winded intro. Like I told at the beginning, the book was a joy. After a long spell of books that have been thought provoking and greatly saddening, I was ready for a straight up romance, something simple, something that captures the beauty of a day to day person without any extra drama and boy aren't I glad I picked up this book. This was just perfect in the sense of that. Everything I was hoping for wrapped up nicely with a white string (just as a box of Lou's Coconut cake). Now I'm sitting here craving for coconut cake, badly, very badly. Lou was such a sweetheart to read. No extra drama, the understanding, everything in this story was just realistically simple. From the struggle to the past relationships and even career opportunities, the ups and downs of adulting, loss of family, anyone could relate to this story and the simpleness of the romance, the sweetness of finding your true love and the up and downs along with it, were just perfectly done. Al was a made many mistakes in the path, none that you can say is horrible but just human mistakes. He was sweet in his love for Lou and honestly made up for his wrongdoings.

One thing that really tugged my heart was the death of a few people. I did not expect that at all. There were signs but because I was expecting a sweet romance that hit me unexpected. I rarely cry during books and can count the number of books I've cried in just one hand but that bit made me cry. IT made me cry so bad I kept the book aside and cried for almost 30 mins before I could compose myself. The fact that I lost my grandmother in a similar manner made me that emotional.

But keeping that little tidbit away, I honestly did not have anything bad to say about the book. It kept me thoroughly engaged during the whole time and not once did I found it boring and I really wanted to go to Milwaukee and check these interesting points myself. If you're looking for a sweet romance with a touch of foodgasms on the side, don't think twice to pick this book up.
Profile Image for DeB.
968 reviews247 followers
August 6, 2016
Yes, I DO enjoy Chicklit for a number of reasons. I especially enjoy Chicklit when it is very well done, and The Coincidence of Coconut Cake definitely fits in that category.

Many months ago, I must have spotted this title on someone's list or a Giveaway and added it to my TBR list. My local library had no copy so I simply moved on to other books, but it recently was acquired by them. I honestly couldn't recall why I had wished to read it!

First, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a sweet, charming and yes, rather predictable tale about an affianced chef, her struggling restaurant, a relationship in chaos and a devastating restaurant review. My stomach dropped a bit because I had recently finished Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson, and the hackneyed plot poorly done there was meeting me again. Oh, my! However, this time the plot device worked beautifully and was well-developed. Food was mouth-wateringly described and as an added bonus Milwaukee, Wisconsin almost became a character in itself as the story explored its food and culture with Lou and Al, our happenstance unexpected case of sizzling attraction begun in a newspaper kiosk over the vapours of a box of coconut cake.

This delightful little novel by Amy E. Reichert flowed by so easily, that I had finished reading it in slightly over 1 &1/2 hours.

I've seen some people describe certain books as "palate cleansers". Perhaps that is what I needed too, but mostly I needed a mental break, a chance to clear serious detritus built up from reading for content, for providing reviews in lieu of free books and because I was immersed in two heavily fact-laden nonfiction tomes which had somehow halted my desire to read further (even though they both are excellent). I needed a reading "holiday"! Well, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake has refreshed me beautifully.

Excellent Chick Lit. Not quite 5 stars but very high 4's. Again.. I wish I could award those half stars and not be forced to jump to the next level. So, I will recommend the novel highly for light entertainment done well, ✪✪✪✪
Profile Image for Cortney -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach.
806 reviews100 followers
May 20, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up because I loved the food aspect!

Cute, albeit predictable, story with great characters. Definitely a love letter to Milwaukee... Would definitely read other books by this author in the future.
Profile Image for Vilma.
599 reviews2,881 followers
January 20, 2016
What an impressive and enjoyable debut from Amy Reichert. I loved it! Think of the movie You’ve Got Mail, give it a fresh and foodie twist, add a dash of romance and a sprinkle of sweetness and heart, and you’ve got a novel that is simply irresistible. The story infuses just the right amount of drama, wit, and suspense, as fate intervenes and leads two people to cross paths on a very unlikely day. I loved how the novel was more than just a romance… it was a tale of friendship and food, and even of a love story with Milwaukee.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is the story of Lou and Al, of chef and food critic. Lou runs a French restaurant, Luella’s, and is struggling to keep it afloat. Her life is supposed to be on track with a well-to-do fiancé, but when she walks in to find a half-naked intern in his apartment, the day goes south, fast.

And on this horrible, very bad day, Al, infamously mean food critic, walks into Luella’s and experiences the worst of the worst. Lou is distracted and upset, the staff is concerned, and the food is not up to par… Al notes it all, and promptly delivers a scathing review. (You can read some of this scene here)

Shortly after, Lou finds herself drowning her sorrows, while Al hits the same bar to celebrate his latest write-up, and as fates collide, the two make plans to see each other again. Lou promises to show Al the best Milwaukee has to offer. Just one catch… no work talk.

The story unravels deliciously, as these two people, each dealing with their own troubles, find an unlikely connection with each other. A friendship takes flight, as flutters for something more stir within for them both. With every place Lou takes Al, he’s falls a little more for the city, and a little more for the girl. And Al makes Lou realize that what she is starting to have with him, is the right kind of something, and just what she needs as her life is heavy with sadness at her restaurant’s demise… particularly after that bad review.

What unfolds is a story full of heart, sweetness, wit and charm. Al’s surly demeanor begins to lift with Lou’s passion and effervescence. But once Al realizes Lou is the very same chef whose restaurant he berated, everything hangs in the balance when he’s certain this secret could shatter everything he now can’t imagine losing.

If you’re looking for a feel-good story that will have you smiling (and perhaps a whole lot hungry), The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is the perfect read to pick up this summer.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews423 followers
September 18, 2016
This was such a fun, fluffy story. I really loved the plot and Lou. I wasn't really a fan of Al just because he was so mean with his reviews and really didn't seem to care about anyone. The romance between Lou and Al was pretty cute but it didn't give me any overwhelming feels. The overall plot was pretty predictable but it was still enjoyable. If I wasn't such a critical reader, I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more.
Profile Image for Katie(babs).
1,806 reviews541 followers
July 30, 2015
While reading The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert all I wanted to do was eat and visit Milwaukee (a city I have yet to visit). Lou aka Elizabeth owns and operates her own French restaurant called Luella’s, in honor of her grandmother, Luella. Lou loves to cook, and running her restaurant, although her long time lawyer boyfriend, Devlin wants her to sell the business once they’re married. He wants to take care of her. Sounds great, right? Not for Lou who loves being independent. One day she makes a coconut cake for Devlin and walks into his apartment to see him with his intern wearing a nightgown Devlin bought for Lou. More angry then heartbroken, Lou leaves Devlin without listening to his explanations. Later, during dinner at Luella’s, she has a horrible night. All her dishes go wrong. The biggest food critic in Milwaukee eats there, and ends up panning Lou and her restaurant in the paper. That review may end up closing her restaurant for good. What Lou doesn’t know is that she bumped into the food critic on her way to give Devlin his cake. The food critic is Al, from Britain visiting the city for a short time and writing more negative then positive reviews for restaurants. He has no idea he panned the woman he bumped into (and thinks is cute) is the owner of Luella’s, he hated eating at.

Lou and Al meet again, and Al wants to get to know Lou better. He uses the guise that he hasn’t done much sightseeing, and asks Lou to be his tour guide of sorts. She agrees, showing him the sights and tastes of her city, unaware Al is the food critic who slammed her beloved restaurant. These two start out as friends and slowly realize they have an attraction for one another. Al learns Lou owns Luella’s and has a great amount of guilt for panning her restaurant, but if he tells her who he is, she’ll end up hating him. Does Al keep his job a secret even though he’s falling for Lou?

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a great foodie romance. Lou is independent, strong, and very caring, which is shown perfectly with Al, who is so out of place. But he learns to loosen up and embrace life thanks to Lou. These two have great chemistry together. The love scenes are more subtle than sensual and descriptive, but fit the tone of the novel.

Devlin is very one-dimensional, and comes and goes with no reason (he’s more of a flyaway character). We never get a full explanation on whether he did cheat on Lou or not, but Lou didn’t care because by then because she comes to the conclusion they just weren’t compatible. Devlin isn’t the villain of the story because he’s so cardboard. Some readers may have an issue with his lacking personality, but the strength of the plot is the great characterizations of Al and Lou and their “dates”.

Fans of contemporary foodie romance will get a kick out of this one, and crave some cake to boot!
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,764 reviews3,836 followers
June 27, 2018
Surprisingly good.

True, I am partial to the cookery books but I was caught off-guard by how invested I became in Lou and Al's journey and even the secondary characters.

The BIG SEKRIT prolly went on for far too long but I'm usually not bothered by that plot device. Adulting and taking responsibility for one's actions is hard so I find it plausible when characters avoid the truth like the plague.

In the human emotions arena I think Reichert excelled at making all these characters relatable and sympathetic.

This is not a sexy read but the connection between Lou and Al was well developed.

C.S.E. Cooney's narration was hit or miss. She did a superb job differentiating the voices and dialects but she had a tendency to sound robotic when reading the non-dialogue parts some of the time. Other times she was enthusiastic and energized.

Uneven performance notwithstanding, I'd probably listen to something else by her and I'd be interested in another Reichert book as well, especially if John were to be a main character.

Recommend to fans of slow burn romance.
July 31, 2015
It is the mark of an incredible author when they can transport you from the comfort of your own home right into the pages of their book. When you can literally envision the sights they are describing and smell the foods that are being cooked. Most of all, it’s the mark of an incredible author to make you want to put everything down and go visit Milwaukee. I want to preface my review with the fact that I don’t have anything against people from Wisconsin….there are just as many clichéd references to us Southerners of Georgia as there are to the Cheese Heads of Wisconsin, but it wasn’t until I read The Coincidence of Coconut Cake that I have ever had a desire to go to Milwaukee….with all the destinations on my list of places to visit I can assure you that Milwaukee wasn’t one of them until Amy Reichert opened up a whole new world for me. And what a delectable world she created…in so many tactile and visionary ways.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was just a lovely story and easily one of my favorite reads of the year. I had a feeling where the story of Lou and Al was going, but getting there….I had no idea what a beautiful and at times angsty journey it would be. Lou is the chef and owner of Luella’s, an Italian restaurant and Al, her friend and eventual lover, is a food critic who decides after one bad night of eating at Luella’s to write a scathing review that puts the wheels in motion for Lou to have to deal with the bad publicity. As Al and Lou venture into their new friendship (neither of them know who the other person is) they make a pact not to talk about work, so as we the reader know what is going to happen down the line, these two budding love birds have no clue. I absolutely loved the friendship stage of this relationship. It was slow and easy and filled with so many fun times. It isn’t every day the author takes their time in really creating this relationship and I was glued to my pages every step of the way. The places Lou took Al to visit so he could experience Milwaukee and get to know the city better was so much fun to read. Again, I will tell you Amy Reichert created such a vivid collection of events and places that it is part of what made this book so phenomenal.

Lou has an independent streak yet still yearned a bit to be taken care of. Al, who is a Brit by the way, is so unhappy in his current life until he meets Lou. These two just meshed so well together. The secondary characters in this book also added such an incredible layer to this story. From her friends to his, they each had their place and Gertrude and Otto simply took the cake (no pun intended) for one of the loveliest secondary couples EVER written. Their friend’s support of each of them I just adored and it was through those friendships that Lou and Al could add another tick in their column of “things that made this story amazing”.

I can’t express to you in words on a page how much I loved this book. It’s like my fingers are fumbling on my keyboard, yet Read It Now! might come across too simple. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a book anyone at any stage of life can read and enjoy….it is a book that celebrates the spirit of being passionate about something and not giving up on your dreams. Al & Lou’s love story and all the trappings of learning about Milwaukee were incredible and this is definitely a 5 “So worth it” star read!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fOPAzl
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/...

I received a copy of this ARC from Gallery Books & #XOXperts in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews920 followers
August 10, 2015
Lou owns a small French restaurant named Luella’s in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s engaged to be married, however, she tries to surprise him with a coconut cake for his birthday only to find a woman in his apartment. In lingerie. She doesn’t take the news well and the restaurant suffers from it that night, which also happens to be the night the local food critic visits Luella’s.

Her little restaurant begins a downward spiral after his scathing review but things are starting to look up when she meets someone new. Al is from the UK and has yet to be shown around Milwaukee so Lou agrees to be his guide. She takes him to see everything from the best restaurants to museums and festivals. They begin to fall for each other during their non-dates realizing just how much they have in common, but neither of them know that Al was the food critic that caused Lou to lose her restaurant.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a delightful, lighthearted romance story that is also a love story to delicious foods and the city of Milwaukee. The food descriptions had me re-declaring my love for food. And also making a raid on my kitchen. And maybe planning a trip to Milwaukee to see all these wonderful sounding sights for myself.

‘He started with the much hailed cheese curds, hot and oozing a little of the white cheddar; the outside was crispy and salty when he bit. A string of cheese dangled from his mouth to his hand as he pulled the cheese from his lips.’

‘Ingredients in baking were mixed in a specific way to create a specific result; a lot like relationships. If people didn’t blend well together, you’d never get the outcome you wanted.’

The requisite drama in this one was palpable and while it all came to a predictable resolution this was still a completely satisfying story. There’s something about the components of a basic foodie fiction book that I can’t help but fall in love with. Delicious food descriptions + quirky characters + adorable romances = me, head over heels. And The Coincidence of Coconut Cake has all the right ingredients.

P.S. There’s even a delicious coconut cake recipe in the back pages that I can’t wait to try myself.

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,067 reviews27 followers
May 3, 2015
This book was so much fun to read! First of all, like other reviewers I now want to visit Milwaukee. I've been there once briefly, but now I really want to experience the food scene there. Second, yes - you will be hungry all the time when reading this book! You'll be partially hungry because of the great food introduced, but you'll also be hungry for coconut cake. I can just taste it now. However, most of all you will find that the characters are lively and REAL. They're real people going through real problems and real joys. Al and Lou, Gertrude and Otto are characters that you can identify with and their story will bring happiness and sadness to you as a reader.

Gertrude and Otto were amazing characters. They reminded me of my parents in some ways. Their love story will make you make you believe in the endurance of love over time. They were amazing characters. John was hilarious and I adored his idiosyncrasies as much as I loved the love between Gertrude and Otto.

No, this book didn't change my life, but it sure made me think about the importance of the people around me and how precious they are. Welcome to Amy Reichert as a new author. I hope to read many more of your books! Highly recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.
Profile Image for Lynn.
838 reviews122 followers
November 6, 2018
This is an absolutely delightful book. Lou Johnson is the chef owner of Louella’s, a struggling restaurant. The day that she finds her fiancé in a compromising position with a beautiful young woman, Lou has a disastrous night at the restaurant, which is the same night that an acerbic food critic comes to review her food. The next day she meets Al, not knowing that he is in fact the food critic. His scathing review causes a decline in her restaurant’s business, but unaware of his identity, Lou and Al become friends, and then more. The whole story hinges on what will happen when Lou finds out who Al really is.

There is so much to like about this book. You learn a lot about Milwaukee and its food scene, to the point where Milwaukee almost becomes another character in the story. The characters are so well portrayed, although I must admit I never really warmed up to Al. I couldn’t get past that he kept his alter ego identity a secret from Lou for so long. I absolutely understand why he did so, because he was afraid of losing her, but that didn’t make it right. The other characters, Sue, Harley, John and the Meyers are simply charming. Devlin, Lou’s former fiancé, is a controlling asshat.

This is not a complex story. In fact it’s quite predictable. And that’s just fine.

And at the end there’s a recipe for coconut cake and coconut frosting. That alone is worth the price of admission.

I definitely recommend this book for the light read that it is.
Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews441 followers
July 29, 2015
Since this is really a food oriented book, I'd love to take that approach with my review. Some books are like high end dining. Well seasoned, cooked to perfection, and epic wait staff. Some books are like fast food. Cheap, greasy, and just there to fill a quick need...

This book was just in the middle. Like cafeteria food. Items on the menu that should be delicious, but are bland and overcooked, with no real seasoning. Not bad, just nothing to write home about. This book had great ingredients, in its clever story lines. It just didn't have that dash of spice to connect me to the characters. I found myself just mindlessly spooning it in, and then realizing I hadn't actually tasted the story at all.

I did love the coconut cake recipe in the back, however. Coconut cake does make everything just a little better! ~ George, 3 stars
Profile Image for Therese.
311 reviews11 followers
March 18, 2019
A sweet little love story, with interesting twists and turns. The two main characters are Al, a Brit living in Milwaukee, working under a pseudonym as a scathing restaurant critic, who thinks the city's food scene and culture are totally passé, and Lou, a young woman who owns and operates a fledgling restaurant that's steadily gaining popularity and making a name for itself. The day starts out with a chance meeting between Lou and Al, and then goes on to be the same day that Lou catches her rich, manipulative fiancé in a compromising situation with another woman, and the same day that, wrecked over the discovery, the food and service suffer at her restaurant, and unbeknownst to Lou, the same day Al visits the restaurant and writes a nasty review that skewers the restaurant's reputation.

Al and Lou end up connecting after their chance meeting, with Lou introducing Al to the heart of Milwaukee, it's food, culture, sports and Summer festivals. Al begins to change his mind about the city and what it has to offer, and the two end up falling in love, all the while not realizing that Lou owns the restaurant that Al reviewed and that Al is the food critic with the kiss of death. Of course, the truth eventually surfaces and it's interesting to see how the relationship and circumstances play out.

Living not far from Milwaukee, it was fun for me to read about the city's highlights that the author describes in the book. And a recipe is provided for the infamous coconut cake that plays a key role at the beginning and end of the book, that I'm looking forward to trying!
Profile Image for Jenny.
237 reviews347 followers
April 4, 2016
Loved this cute and fluffy book! Both characters were great, and their love for food made this book more entertaining. And along with romance, there were also mouth-watering dishes mentioned in the book like frozen custards, deep fried cheese curds, and coconut cake. Oh, and also there's recipe of Coconut Cake, which I am definitely going make soon! Overall it was an amazing read!
Profile Image for KathyAnne.
570 reviews84 followers
July 31, 2015
This deliciously romantic story is going straight to the top of my favorites list for 2015! I enjoyed each and every page and literally did not put the book down from start to finish. This author put together a story that is simplistic in nature but at the same time sends out a powerful message of not taking for granted an opportunity to take a risk on true love. Settling for someone less than you deserve should never be on your bucket list! :)
I adored Lou's character... she is goal orientated, goes after her dreams, and despite the many road blocks she encounters as the story progresses she continuously picks up the pieces of her life and plows ahead. These are qualities I admire in people in real life so I completely respected her character and was rooting for all things to work out for her in the end.
Al is a guy who is completely devoted to his career, but not really that devoted to Milwaukee. Nope, this British man considers this to be a miserable place to live... that is, until he met the young woman who smelled of Vanilla and Coconut and opened his eyes not only to experiencing new things but also opening his heart. I love how his character slowly transformed from looking at the world as a glass half empty to a glass half full. Oh, the difference it can make.
I absolutely fell in love with the way this couple fell in love. The simple outings they went on together started out as friendship but turned into something so much more. I loved how enjoying the simple things in life brought them together. The gift of time and taking a minute or two to indulge in life's little pleasures is the best way to start out as a couple. That beats a store bought gift any day of the week!
There are some delightful supporting characters that will also grasp at your heartstrings. The staff that worked with Lou were more like family. I love how they supported her all the way through, even when it hurt. I particularly loved the elderly German couple who frequented Lou's restaurant and acted as her surrogate parents.
The author decided to take my emotions on a roller coaster ride at the end however, the tears were flowing! I love it when that happens... :) I wish I could tell you why but it would be too spoilery so can't tell..... nope, just can't. It was heartbreaking but also heartwarming and I loved the beautiful message that came out of the despair. A lovely ending with a promise of second chances... because everyone deserves a second chance. That was the point where this story came full circle and completely won me over.
So, this is a beautifully written story that is mostly about taking chances, never settling, believing in second chances and most of all Blooming where you are planted! That was something Al had never thought could happen to him, but he found that sometimes it's not the place you live that makes you happy, it's the people you have walking next to you that makes each day worthwhile.

I truly cannot recommend this story enough... this is a keeper and a book I will definitely be reminded of every time I eat a slice of coconut cake! Now, where is my blender??!! :))

ARC was provided by XOXO After Dark as a member of the XOXperts street team

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Profile Image for Linda .
1,795 reviews249 followers
July 15, 2018
The perfect coconut cake includes softened unsalted butter, just enough fresh coconut cream and milk, a secretive vanilla AND the necessary coconut extract but don’t over-mix!

After discovering her fiancée with a coworker, chef Luella Johnson was in dire straits. Depressed, she made the mistake of preparing dishes on a night when the mysterious food critic, A. Wodyski, dropped in. His review was devastating and her restaurant business spiraled. Without a loan, the doors would eventually close.

Al Waters and Lou Johnson were unaware of their true careers when they first met. He assumed she worked in an office and she thought he was some kind of writer. He had moved to Milwaukee to broaden his career and had some negative opinions of the city. She agreed to show him the upside of her hometown. Innocently, it began as a light attraction that developed into a friendship of sorts.

I enjoyed my ‘visit’ to Milwaukee. It brought back fond memories: Summerfest, the lake front, brats and a Friday night fish fry. The city has a rich cultural heritage and food is a large part of it.

I enjoyed watching Al expand his narrow scope and deepen his appreciation for new flavors and places of interest. I liked Lou and her co-workers: friends who were there for her through thick or thin. Al and Lou had an easy-going chemistry. Yes, the plot has been written before but the different setting and the travel log of a large Midwest city made it a pleasant summertime read.

*Thank you, Jane Stewart, for bringing this story to my attention.*
Profile Image for Bonnie DeMoss.
764 reviews84 followers
February 6, 2020
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a story of love, mistaken identity, and food--the wonderful food of Wisconsin. Lou is a chef in Milwaukee who owns her own restaurant. Her business is small but growing, until the worst day of her life. A cheating fiance leads to a horrible restaurant review, which leads to the slow demise of her business. On the bright side, she has met a wonderful man, Al, a Brit, to whom she is introducing the wonderful food of Milwaukee. A case of mistaken identity and misunderstanding ensues.

This book is very reminiscent of the mistaken identity situation in the movie You've Got Mail and the premise is intriguing. What if you fall in love with the person who unknowingly caused your demise? We are also introduced to the food scene in Milwaukee. I wanted to immediately end my Weight Watchers food plan and jump on a plane to Milwaukee for some fried cheese curds. I could see, smell, and taste the food that was described. Yum. I have never wanted to visit Milwaukee before, until I read about the food festivals and Milwaukee culture in this book. This is a fun read. I fell in love with the characters and with the food.
April 12, 2016

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake has an alluring premise with a "secret identity" love affair between a restauranteur and a harsh food critic. But the book was just okay and rather bland.

Al is a food critic known for his scathing reviews of local restaurant. He gives Lou's restaurant a less than stellar review under a pseudonym after visiting on a night where Lou was off her game. Though neither of them realize who each other are until much later on in the book when they're in a relationship. Al cannot wait to leave Milwaukee until he meets a newly single Lou. She takes Al on several "nondates" in an effort to show him the beauty and charm of Milwaukee.

What I really liked in the book was getting a cultural tour of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Reading this book made me want to take a vacation and go up there to meet the sweet people, experience the various festivals, taste all the cheeses, and drink all the beer.

The author set a great foundation for the book. The publisher's description of a foodie's You've Got Mail was spot on. The characters had the potential to be really wonderful. When I finished, I didn't really feel much towards the main characters or the story as a whole. The characters I felt the most for was the elderly couple who were regulars at Luella.

This book focuses on Lou's journey of achieving her dream of running a successful restaurant and finding happiness. Part of that journey is meeting and falling in love with Al. What I didn't like was how the author tried to create chemistry between Al and Lou. Instead of taking the time to build up these characters' relationship and leave the reader to experience it, it seemed like the author took shortcuts. The first several times Al and Lou meet up, both characters note feeling a spark, a tingle, and/or "the zings". Also, both characters repeatedly remark on how each other smells, what they're wearing, or their hair. These two things didn't work for me and didn't help me feel connected to their romance.

The last 40% or so I skimmed because I didn't feel engaged in the story. The book isn't very long, I just got bored. Those who love their books with a side of food may enjoy this book more than me. The romance and the heroine's journey didn't captivate or hold my attention.

* I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

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