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How to Bake a Perfect Life: A Novel
     

How to Bake a Perfect Life: A Novel

4.0 88
by Barbara O'Neal, Tanya Eby (Read by)
 

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In a novel as warm and embracing as a family kitchen, Barbara O’Neal explores the poignant, sometimes complex relationships between mothers and daughters—and the healing magic of homemade bread.

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an

Overview

In a novel as warm and embracing as a family kitchen, Barbara O’Neal explores the poignant, sometimes complex relationships between mothers and daughters—and the healing magic of homemade bread.

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build.

When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again—this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering.

Ramona calls upon a special set of tools—patience, persistence, and the reliability of a good recipe—when rebellious Katie arrives. And as she relives her own history of difficult choices, Ramona shares her love of baking with the troubled girl. Slowly, Katie begins to find self-acceptance and a place to call home. And when a man from her past returns to offer a second chance at love, Ramona discovers that even the best recipe tastes better when you add time, care, and a few secret ingredients of your own.

“This book will have you smiling and crying and pining for an old love, or just a hunk of really good fresh-baked bread. I loved every single delicious bite.” —Jennie Shortridge, author of When She Flew

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781491586280
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
08/26/2014
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Barbara O’Neal is the author of a number of highly acclaimed novels, including the Target Club Pick How to Bake a Perfect Life and The Lost Recipe for Happiness, which won the RITA in 2010, bringing her total number of RITA awards to six. She sold her first novel in her twenties, and has also published under the names Barbara Samuel and Ruth Wind, and her books have been sold in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and Poland. Barbara loves olive oil, peaches, good ale, gardening, and all big dogs. She’s also a long distance walker who traveled a portion of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in 2010, and hopes to return to walk the rest in the near future. A native of Colorado, she now lives on the skirts of Pikes Peak with her partner, a British endurance athlete, and four animals who convinced her they needed rescue.

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How to Bake a Perfect Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story of three generations of women and the bread recipes mixed in. Going to bake this weekend :)
m_bee More than 1 year ago
I was looking for something to lose myself in on a camping trip. Once I picked this up, I couldn't put it down. I absolutely love O'Neal's writing--she knows how to give her readers well developed characters and story lines that aren't too simple or too complex.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book almost by accident and truly enjoyed reading it! I did not find it corny as another reviewer mentioned. Instead I found it to be well written, touching and inspiring. It is a fast read and I highly recommend O'Neal's work.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Colorado Springs, forty years old Ramona Gallagher loves her bakery, which brings her joy that very little else does in her life. Her other love is for her daughter Sofia who she had as a single teen. When Sofia's husband is injured in Afghanistan, he is sent to Germany for medical care. Sofia flies to Europe to be with him. However, before leaving Colorado, she asks her mother to watch her stepdaughter thirteen year old Katie as the teen's mother is in jail on a drug charge. That summer Ramona and Katie bond, which encourages the bakery owner to reconcile with her somewhat estranged family and to take a chance on love with a man she was seeing when they were teens. Although bonding between the "bread" generations has been done before, Barbara O'Neal bakes a fresh tale as in many ways it is the teen who teaches the adult what matters in life. Character driven mostly by Ramona but cleverly enhanced by Katie, fans will enjoy this terrific contemporary extended family drama, as the young "grandmother" discovers The Lost Recipe for Happiness. Harriet Klausner
Maertel More than 1 year ago
A great fun book - I'll be looking for a sequel. Since there was no mention of birth control, maybe Ramona and Josh could surprise us. Supernatural Adelaide was a bit odd, but the only thing that REALLY could have made it better was building a high fence for Merlin. Every time he was out in the backyard, the same running away scenario could easily have happened. Kinda tense for dog lovers.
lisavergehiggins More than 1 year ago
I read this in one delicious gulp on a Sunday afternoon. It brought me back to the days when I used to bake bread every Sunday. The novel also made me laugh and cry and ache and smile in satisfaction. A fabulous, fabulous book that portrays with emotional intensity the sometimes difficult and always complicated relationships between mothers and daughters. Love, love, loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was the first of barbara o'neal's books that i read and i just have to say "thank you!"   this book was one i could not put down, with the perfect mixture of warmth,mystery and cozyness.
AnaMills More than 1 year ago
Written in a journal and narrative fashion that allows you to know the characters. It also has some wonderful bread recipes that I am going to try. I am going to buy more from this author.
R-L More than 1 year ago
I loved the way this book was written! It is a tale of 3 women who are all in different, yet challenging times of their lives. Ramona, the bakery owner in her 40's, Sophie, her daughter who is pregnant with an injured soldier for a husband, and Katie, Sophie's step daughter who is dealing with a meth-addicted (biological) mother and the challenges of being a teenager with no real place to 'be'. This is a great read, I loved it and recommend it to anyone looking for a 'chic' book that is a little heavier than the usual 'chic-lit!' Thanks, Barbara O'Neal for a great read!
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
In How to Bake a Perfect Life a cobbled together family of women struggle to find success and happiness and to understand each other. The book centers around Ramona, a 40 year old woman trying to keep her beloved bakery open. Circling the story of Ramona are those of Sophia, her pregnant daughter, and Katie, Sophia's neglected stepdaughter, in addition to Ramona's mother, grandmother, and aunt. Each woman has to fight her own set of demons and all are strong in their own, unique ways. Woven throughout the book is enough fabulous baking to make anyone hungry, a loyal dog, and a little romance. I have loved Babara O'Neal's other books and this one does not disappoint. As with her others, Barbara hits just the right spot between fairy tale, happy-ever-after, and the harsh reality of circumstances. It is believable enough to really fall in love with the characters with a satisfying ending. The moment I picked up How to Bake a Perfect Life I was completely immersed in the bakery and it was a struggle to leave that world whenever I had to put the book down.
PollyBennett 12 months ago
My first Barbara O'Neal book. It was wonderful. It was real, real life. Intense. I loved every page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a charming story, tying the past and the present together in a very satisfying read. The characters came to life and made me care about their choices and the results.
DallasDunlavy More than 1 year ago
I really liked her book The All You Can Dream Buffet, but this book has sent my blood pressure skyrocketing!!  In a flashback, we find out that the father of Ramona's daughter is a Mexican man named Armando.  He is portrayed as oversexed (sleeping with a  15 year old girl), violent, and of course, he is undocumented, then conveniently deported.  This wouldn't be so bad if there were other Latinos in the story.  O'Neal, who is from Colorado, should realize that Colorado is more than 20% Hispanic.  She should be  ashamed for pulling out every possible stereotype of immigrant workers!!!  This is the last book I will read by this insensitive author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so sad to have finished reading this book. I could have enjoyed it going on longer. So well done and again it will be added to my must read shelf that I like to offer to anyone looking for a good book to read.
otterly More than 1 year ago
This is about a large and complicated family, most of which lives in Colorado. The main character is Ramona, who runs a bakery, with a lot of help from several friends. Her daughter is pregnant, and goes to an Army hospital after her soldier husband comes home injured--missing his right leg, etc. The niece is sent to spend time with Ramona. Her real mother is a loser who is in rehab for the umpteenth time. There are problems that Ramona has to face, but she has reunited with Jonah, an old friend, so that makes it better. A book club might want to consider this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read from cover to cover
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RieneRhys More than 1 year ago
I thourought enjoyed reading this book. The underlying themes of women relating with each other through different relationships hit home. I'll be gifting this to 4 generations of women in my family this Mother's Day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read.....didn't want the story to end. A love story. A story about relationships- mother to daughter, wife to husband, child to adult. I loved all the characters. Could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.....would recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago