Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood

Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. “Aunt” Lily rides a motorcycle, wears purple sequins, and whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, nonmagical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun.
So Rose and her siblings experi-ment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke.
A few Love Muffins and a few dozen Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?

I love baking, so I was really looking forward to this story. It was cute enough, I suppose. Rosemary's insecurities definitely felt real and believable, and they explained her naiveté and poor choices. Though some of the issues she overlooked felt contrived (like the tart and the key at the end), so that was disappointing.

I also could not get over some of the plot points of the story—it takes much more than an hour or so to prep a bakery for the day, and bakeries open *much* earlier than 8:30am (because everyone is at work by then). So those running a bakery often have to start preparing well before the sun comes up. I also did not buy it that Rose wouldn’t have a way of getting in touch with her parents immediately (they were in another town baking, where there’s plenty of phones and cell coverage). The logical part of my brain kept kicking in and pointing out these inconsistencies, keeping me from enjoying the story.

My eight year old son read this book and said that it doesn’t really ‘get good’ until the halfway mark. I have to agree. Not much happens in the first half, but once Rose and her brothers break out the cookery booke it gets more interesting. My son found it funnier than I did because the humor is definitely geared toward a younger audience.

In the end, though, neither my son nor I were interested enough to seek out the next book once it comes out.

Age appropriateness: there are no incredibly tense moments, so I think this book would appeal to grade-schoolers who have advanced reading skills. 


Angela Ackerman said...

Sounds like a great book by the blurb, but I agree, when details aren't researched and plot points feel contrived, it can hurt the story. Perhaps though kids won't catch these the same way we do as adults (and writers) but your son clearly spotted an issue with pacing in any case.

Kelly Hashway said...

I've never heard of this one. It's probably not something I'd gravitate towards.

Jenny Brooks said...

I haven't read this book , but I agree with you on one point. I, too, have a hard time enjoying a book when tiny details don't make sense. Thanks for reminding me of this as I work on editing my book... no silly inconsistencies, please!

Unknown said...

It sounds like a wonderful premise that wasn't quite handled right. I looked it up on Amazon b/c I wanted to know who pubbed it. I laughed when I saw it was Katherine Tegen. I recently told a CP that most of the books pubbed by them seem to fall in the category of: great premise, dull beginning, loads of backstory and telling. I guess this is one more...
Thanks for the great post! :-)