Life is Sweet
by Elizabeth Bass
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Kindle Edition: 352 pages
Kindle Price: $9.09
Three years ago, Becca Hudson threw a dart at a map, hit Leesburg, Virginia, and decided it was the perfect place to start over. Now she has her own bakery, The Strawberry Cake Shop, loyal customers, and close friends. She also has something that success as a Hollywood child star couldn’t give her: a mostly normal existence. Not that it’s without complications. One best friend, Pam, is in the wary early days of a new relationship; another is fighting to save her marriage in the midst of infidelity. And then there’s Becca’s growing attraction to Matthew, surrogate step-dad to Olivia, a smart, sensitive ten-year-old who’s become a fixture in the bakery and in Becca’s affections.
Still, Becca is content to live in the present and ignore the “Whatever happened to?” speculation and occasional curious fan – until her past barges in again. Amid revelations and unexpected dilemmas, Becca must confront the life she stepped away from and the love she struggles to accept. It’s the only way she’ll truly find what she needs: a recipe for living that’s honest, messy, sweet and true.
In an eloquent novel as moving as it is funny, acclaimed author Elizabeth Bass tells a story of forgiveness, resilience – and the unexpected detours that shape every journey to happiness.
‘Tina thinks you should get a life.’ Rebecca Hudson is a former Hollywood television star and deeply resents that she can’t seem to escape fans that still think of her as darling little Tina from Me Minus You. After losing her momentum in Hollywood early on in her career, Becca eventually moves to a quaint, small town in Virginia in an attempt to leave her child-star past behind her.
Upon moving to Leesburg, Becca pursues her love of baking by opening The Strawberry Cake Shop. Becca’s love of cake had come directly from her mom… As long as there was cake, Ronnie had said, you had a little happiness on a plate. Her shop is decorated with her other life-long love – horses! Becca keeps her horse Harvey at her ex-husband Cal’s horse farm and has managed to stay on somewhat friendly terms with him. It helps that Cal has been long-term friends with Becca’s friend Pam, one of the members of the “Not-Book-Club” trio.
Although everyone thinks her shop is named for the Strawberry Cake that she sells, The Strawberry Cake Shop is named after the cake Becca’s mom would whip up for every birthday. Becca makes this cake for her own enjoyment when she starts to miss her mother because it represents happiness and love. “This is the kind of cake my mom used to make on my birthday,” she told the group as they beheld the finished product. “Just like it’s always happy hour somewhere, it must be someone’s birthday somewhere, right?” I love this quote and the idea that there’s always an excuse to eat cake!
Through life’s ups and downs, Becca now has an ex-husband that owns a horse farm, a successful business and two of the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Becca came to Leesburg in hopes of living a happy and simple life, but soon she’s got more drama than she knows what to do with! Add in an adorable ten-year-old named Olivia, her dreamy makeshift ‘step-dad’ Matthew, a home-wrecking affair and a long-lost important figure in Becca’s life. Can Becca come up with a recipe for success or will she be lucky to just get through everything life has thrown her way unscathed?
I thoroughly enjoyed Bass’s novel and loved the brewing relationship between Becca and Matthew. Reading Life is Sweet made me desperately crave a slice of Becca’s mother’s Strawberry Cake and left me wishing that there was a bakery like The Strawberry Cake Shop in my neighborhood. It also made me wish I was a bit more clever in the kitchen and inspired me to try baking from scratch more often. And even if every wish didn’t come true, there was always the cake itself. As long as there was cake, life was good.
Side note: All quotes have been pulled from a pre-published review copy. I apologize if any excerpts did not make it into the final published novel, however, they will give you a sense of the overall feel of the book and I’m sure that you will absolutely love it!
The youngest of four children, Elizabeth Bass grew up outside of a very small town in East Texas in pre-NetFlix days. The first loves in her life were animals and Humphrey Bogart. Had it not been for a father who kept the house full of books and some tireless elementary school teachers, she could have happily remained an illiterate rabbit caretaker addicted to black-and-white films on the late late show.
Before writing Miss You Most of All, she published thirty romance and women’s fiction novels under the name Liz Ireland and co-authored two Regencies with her sister as Alexandra Bassett.
She lives with her husband in Montreal, where she writes and does freelance editing. An elderly cat or dog (or two…or four) can usually be found in her apartment, and during the busiest day she can often find time to sneak in an old movie.