The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is satisfyingly sweet novel about Lou, a struggling restaurateur who after a series of coincidental meetings (and an almost toppled cake) starts to fall for Al Waters, an uptight British writer biding his time in Midwestern America. This boy meets girl romance get turned on it’s head because Al is also the anonymous snarky food critic whose negative review tanked Lou’s restaurant . . . not that either of them know who the other is
As Lou introduces Al to the wonders of Milwaukee it becomes clear that this novel is a love letter to the city and its food. Reichert has this amazing way of describing everything from street food to culinary creations in a way that will make you hungry. I kind of just want her to be a judge on Top Chef so she can describe the food.
I just love that Al has had the pleasure of having the two jobs I was told in journalism school “don’t actually exist”; food critic and entertainment reporter. Then again this does take place in world where a newspaper isn’t holding on for dear life and can send people overseas for coverage.
I’ve said it once I’ll say it again; I’m not a big contemporary reader, but Reichert creates a compelling external conflict, and when it comes to a head she brings in a few more twist and turns to surprise you. And oh,boy, does she throw a big emotional hardball at the end.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake has a dash of humor, a handful of shenanigans and is sprinkled almost entirely with love for both people and the tasty things in life.
Al apparently has a six pack (I’m talking abs not Milwaukee beer) and this totally took me out of the story. He’s a food critic/writer and not once does he go to the gym. . . Sure, Jan.
And yes, there is a recipie for coconut cake in the back !