Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it's criminal...
After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte's customers turns up dead, there's much ado about murder...
The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival's newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her...but still. The silver lining? Jules's high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can't help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all...
About the Author
ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she's not coated in flour, you'll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. You can friend her on Facebook to learn more!
Read an Excerpt
They say it takes a while to recover your land legs after years spent at sea. I sure hoped mine would come back soon.
It had been twenty-seven hours and forty-two minutes (not that I was counting) since I left the ship, my husband, and everything I’d known for the last ten years.
Nothing felt solid. Not my feet on the familiar pavement of my hometown. Not my stomach with its constant churning like I was still stuck on rough waters. Not even the welcoming sight of the cozy shops and storefronts lining Main Street were enough to shake the haze that had settled over me.
I couldn’t even blame the haze on the fact that it was 3:45 in the morning. Most people would have an excuse to feel groggy this early. Not me. I’m used to working bakers’ hours, and I was fairly confident that the foggy feeling assaulting my body had more to do with my life having been turned upside down.
Not much had changed downtown in the past decade. I took my time walking to the bakeshop, in part because of my unsteady gait, but also because I wanted to soak in the idyllic village as it sat in an early slumber.
Ashland, Oregon, my hometown, is nestled in the foothills between the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains. It’s home to the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, an eclectic community of artists, outdoor adventure seekers, college students, farmers, hippies, rich retirees, and a constant stream of tourists. At nearly two thousand feet in elevation, its Mediterranean summers make it the perfect spot to watch Shakespeare under the stars or hike one of the nearby peaks. In the winter, Ashland attracts skiers and snow lovers to its nearby ski resorts and backcountry trails.
Growing up here made for a comfortable and imaginative childhood. Our family bakeshop, Torte, has served actors, playwrights, artists, students, and pretty much everyone else in town for thirty years. I remember the heat from the ovens warming my hands after school on cold winter afternoons, delivering cakes and pastries to the theater on opening night, and the comfort of chatting with my parents over the counter as they orchestrated an assembly line of baked goods in the kitchen. All this time away might have me idealizing my childhood, but honestly, it was pretty perfect.
It was an easy and quiet life. This morning I found myself wondering why I left.
Maybe it was hearing the foreign accents and stories of far-off corners of the planet from travelers stopping by our quaint little town. Their tales sparked a desire for me to get out there and see the world for myself. So, the day after I graduated from high school I took a giant leap and enrolled in culinary school. After I expanded my baking skills I landed a job as an apprentice pastry chef on a European cruise ship. I’ve been sailing the seas ever since.
And your legs are proof, aren’t they, Jules? I thought as I twisted the handle on the front door of Torte, causing a bell above my head to chime.
“Mom, I’m here!” I called, and flipped on the front lights.
She didn’t answer.
Torte is located in the heart of the old-fashioned plaza downtown, just a block from the Elizabethan theater and in a perfect spot for grabbing a coffee or a muffin before perusing the shops or wandering along the river path that cuts through Lithia Park. The front of the bakeshop houses a coffee bar, bistro tables and booths that line the windows. In my unbiased opinion it’s the best spot in town to catch a glimpse of all the action.
Corrugated metal siding wraps the counter and the walls are painted in royal colors—teal blue with bright, cranberry-red accents. It makes the space cheery and pays homage to my dad’s obsession with all things Shakespeare.
He died when I was fifteen. Mom pays a subtle tribute to him with her rotating quote of the day on Torte’s massive chalkboard menu.
Today’s read, “Torte—where everyone is above the salt.”
I didn’t recognize the obscure reference. That’s what Dad used to be good at, making Shakespeare’s words accessible to everyone. All these years later, it looked like Mom was continuing the tradition.
“Good morning, Mom,” I called again. I could see her working in the back. Torte’s industrial kitchen is open so that customers can watch Mom rolling out dough or sidle up to the counter that divides the front from the back to gab over coffee.
The air-conditioning chugged, attempting to keep up with the heat rising in the ovens and creeping in from outside. July in Ashland can be a scorcher, but mornings and evenings tend to be cool. Not today. A heat wave had settled in, making me wish for a saltwater breeze.
“You beat me,” I said to Mom, taking in the scent of brewing coffee and yeast and grabbing an apron from the hooks hanging on the wall. “Whew, it’s hot out there.”
Mom started. “Juliet!… Sorry … Jules.”
Okay, let’s just get this out of the way now. My real name is Juliet.
Wait. It gets worse.
Juliet Montague Capshaw.
I know. It’s ridiculous.
When I was a kid it seemed sort of sweet and fitting for the town. Plus, it made my dad proud. As soon as I left, I quickly realized a name can make or break you. I have firsthand experience working as a sous-chef for a nasty pâtissier. He made me the laughingstock of the kitchen, singing “Romeo, Romeo” whenever I made a mistake.
I shortened my name to Jules. Thankfully, it fits.
Mom shifted the stainless steel mixer to low. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”
“All these years of working in a loud kitchen is making you deaf, Mom.”
“Honey, you worry too much.” She brushed flour from her hands and wiped her brow. “I still can’t believe you’re really here. I want to pinch myself.” She squeezed the skin on her petite wrist to prove her point.
Do I worry too much? No. If anything, I have a tendency toward self-reliance much like her.
Being away made me realize that the last few years had taken a toll on her. Don’t get me wrong, she looks amazing for fifty-five. She wears her dark hair, streaked naturally with silver, in a shoulder-length bob. Age is leaving its subtle mark on the corner of her walnut eyes, and her gentle smile now has soft lines.
“I’m all yours.” I sighed, cinching my apron around my waist. “Want me to jump in?”
Mom shut the mixer off and started scooping buttery dough on the wooden island that sits in the center of the kitchen. “No, no, I’ve got this under control. You look like you could use a cup of coffee.”
“Yeah, an extra kick might help.” I tried to keep my voice light, hoping that our being oceans apart for so long would make her less likely to see through me.
I poured myself a cup of the nutty brew, adding just a splash of cream. “What’s the ‘above the salt’ quote?”
“Oh, that’s an old Shakespeare reference.” Mom sprinkled flour on top of the dough and began rolling it with a well-used wooden rolling pin. “Back in his time, salt was a valuable seasoning. It was placed in the center of the table—close to the king and his family. Everyone else was seated below the salt.”
She finished rolling the dough and began pressing the tart crust into twelve-inch pans, taking extra care to work it into the indentations in the sides. “I think it speaks to our philosophy: everyone’s royalty at Torte.”
Sips of Mom’s expertly brewed coffee helped take the edge off. “Definitely.” I paused, taking another gulp of coffee. “I see raspberries over there. I’m feeling nostalgic for that raspberry Danish Dad used to make. Are you game?”
She put her hand to her heart. “That sounds delicious. Yes, of course. Look at us, right back where we left off.”
“Okay, but Mom, remember—this is only temporary. I’m only here until I figure out what I’m going to do next. I don’t want to jump in and mess up your routine or anything.”
She stopped forming the tarts and held up a dough-covered finger. “Listen, honey, I know you’re—you’re…” She paused. “Working some stuff out, but please, let’s not tiptoe around each other. Okay?”
“Yes, captain.” I saluted her.
When I called her last week to tell her I was coming home, I took her by surprise. It’s not like we haven’t tried to maintain a relationship. We’ve had a standing Sunday-evening phone call since I left. But mainly we just covered the highlights. There wasn’t time to dive deeper.
Going back to work on the tarts, she chuckled. “Plus, no one else in town has a world-class pastry chef manning the kitchen, now do they?”
I polished off the bottom half of my coffee and scoffed. “Hardly.” I twirled the antique platinum wedding ring on my left hand.
Mom placed a tart pan in the oven and came around the island to me. She squeezed me tight, floured hands and all. “Juliet, you’re going to be fine. And, at some point you’re going to have to talk about it. I’m here when you’re ready.”
“I know.” I looked at my feet.
She released me from her grasp. I didn’t move.
“Okay, we’ll leave it for the moment.”
I’d forgotten how Mom can be equally pushy and patient with me.
She clapped her hands together. “So, let’s get baking.”
Over the next hour we started to find our rhythm. I was surprised by how quickly we eased back into our old routine. It must have been cellular memory. My hands instinctively remembered that measuring spoons are in the second drawer down and that the spatulas and wooden spoons hang on the far back wall.
Baking on solid ground certainly had its advantages. Like not having to worry that muffin batter will spill out of the pans if the ship lists to one side. Or having to clutch onto utensils so tightly they leave marks on your hands, because you’re afraid that if the ship hits a wave the wrong way they’ll go flying and take out a poor busboy’s eye. Not to mention baking for thousands at a time in a hectic kitchen.
Maybe life on land wasn’t so bad after all.
By the time we opened at six A.M., we’d cranked out enough pastries to feed the entire town. The glass cases were stuffed with morning buns, cinnamon scones, rhubarb muffins, cherry tarts, savory quiches, almond crescent cookies, and my raspberry Danish.
Andy and Stephanie, the college students Mom had hired to help, arrived before the first customer.
“Hey, you must be Ms. Capshaw. How’s it going?” Andy stashed his backpack behind the cash register. His long strides with his shoulders hunched slightly forward were a telltale sign he hadn’t grown into his height yet. He tugged off a tattered Southern Oregon University sweatshirt and grabbed an apron. Torte’s aprons are fire-engine red with blue stitching and a chocolate torte on the front.
“You can call me Jules,” I said, trying to wink. “I think I’m a few years past Ms.”
He grinned and fired up the espresso machine. “Yeah, but you’re, like, my new boss and my mom always says I should treat a boss with respect.” He covered his shaggy, sand-colored hair with a baseball hat.
I pointed my thumb to Mom. “I’m not the boss. She is.”
Stephanie barely made eye contact as she shook my hand. In fairness, her jet-black hair, streaked with plum highlights, fell in front of her face. Hopefully she’d brought along something to tie it up with.
Mom bustled to the front in a clean apron. “Andy, you’re here. Can you start pulling a double espresso? Lance should be here any minute now.” She peered out the window. “Oh, and it looks like Caroline is with him. Stephanie, can you bring a stack of pastry boxes to the front?”
Stephanie chomped on a wad of gum and shuffled to the back. “Uh-huh.”
Andy patted the espresso machine. “She’s already warmed up and ready to roll, Mrs. C. Drinks will be on the bar in two minutes.”
True to his word, Andy poured perfectly balanced shots of thick espresso and steamed soy milk.
As the bell on the front door jingled, he placed the artistically designed coffees on the bar.
I took a deep breath and steadied myself on the island. It had just occurred to me that stories about why I’d returned were sure to be circulating. I should have prepared better for the onslaught.
“Good morning, Lance, Caroline.” Mom greeted them from behind the counter.
“Helen.” Lance reached over the bar and kissed Mom on both cheeks. “You are my morning muse. Look at this! My coffee is waiting and it smells divine in here. What would I do without you?”
I’d peg Lance to be in his mid-forties. He adjusted his thick, black-framed glasses and smoothed his dark goatee. His navy suit looked as if it had been hand-stitched and cut exactly to his lean frame.
Caroline, the woman next to him, I recognized. She’s about ten years older than Lance and a fixture in town. Just my luck that she would be the first person I’d see. Her reputation as an actress and as a busybody who likes to exaggerate is legendary.
“I thought I was your muse.” Caroline flicked Lance in the arm with perfectly manicured fingernails and removed her coffee from the bar. Her lush ginger curls fell to her chest. She was dressed in flowing white from head to toe and her makeup looked as if it had been expertly applied.
“Soy. Exactly how I like it.” She turned to Mom. “Thank you, Helen.”
“What is that gooey, sticky raspberry delight?” Lance asked, pointing a well-manicured finger at the raspberry Danish.
Mom pulled me forward. “I don’t think you’ve met my daughter yet. Lance, this is Jules.”
Caroline squealed. “Juliet!” She raced around the counter and embraced me in a tight hug. “I didn’t even recognize you! You look fantastic. Oh, everyone is talking about you!” She caught Mom’s eye. “We’re all so happy to have you home.”
“The Jules?” Lance mocked. “The world-famous Jules whose pastries have launched a thousand ships?”
He surveyed my appearance. “Helen, why didn’t you tell me your daughter was as lovely as she is talented?”
Caroline waved him off. “Juliet, don’t pay attention to him. He’s a charmer.” She patted my shoulder and returned to the other side of the bar.
Lance grabbed my hand, and stretched out my fingers. “The bone structure. So elegant. Fine lines. Stunning cheekbones. Those eyes. Men could lose themselves, really lose themselves, in those eyes.” He dropped my hand and studied my face. “You remind me of a young Gwyneth Paltrow. That hair. It’s absolutely ethereal—golden, white. Can you take it down?”
I reached my hand up to my ponytail protectively and shook my head. “Can’t. Wouldn’t want to leave a hair in a cheesecake or something.”
Growing up around theater types like Lance and Caroline had given me a healthy mistrust of gushing compliments like Lance’s.
“What a Mona Lisa smile you have,” Lance gushed.
“Leave her alone, Lance,” Mom chimed in. “She gave up her acting days years ago.” She elbowed me in the ribs. “He’s right, though, how long have I been telling you that you need to actually smile?”
I ignored them both.
Lance made a tsk-tsk sound. “What a shame. We won’t let that stop us from convincing her otherwise, will we, Caroline?”
Caroline smiled through pursed lips. “You’re embarrassing her, Lance.”
Mom kicked me behind the counter. “Now about that raspberry Danish. You two go sit and I’ll bring you each a slice. Jules just pulled it out of the oven.”
While Caroline and Lance took a seat I grabbed wedges of Danish. I couldn’t resist finishing off the plate with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint. Mom cut bread dough with a large knife and plopped the loaves into a big plastic tub. She covered the tub with a clear plastic bag and set it on a baking rack to rise.
“Who’s Lance?” I whispered.
“He’s OSF’s artistic director. He’s been here maybe five or six years.”
“I figured he had to be part of the theater.”
“Whatever gave that away?” Mom kept a serious look on her face, but her eyes twinkled.
“And Caroline’s still a stage diva?”
“Yep. She likes to make it known that she’s been with the company longer than any actor on record.” A timer buzzed. “I think that’s you.” Mom motioned to the oven.
I removed another batch of Danish from the oven. The crust came out tawny and firm. The raspberry sauce glistened on the top, left the sweet bread slightly gooey. I drizzled vanilla glaze over the top.
“I’ll take these out, Mom. Can you keep an eye on the shortbread?”
Lance and Caroline had settled in the farthest booth from the front door. He patted the red vinyl bench as I placed the Danishes in front of them. “Join us, Jules. We’ve heard so much about you from your mother.”
I glanced at the front counter. Andy was chatting with a customer as he steamed milk for the line of people eagerly awaiting their morning fix. Stephanie bagged and plated pastry orders. Mom stood faithfully by the cookies in the oven. I needed to get back to work, but the idea that the customer’s needs always come first is ingrained in me.
“Okay,” I said, scooting in next to Lance. “Just for a minute.”
Lance took a sip of his dark espresso. “Where’s your poison?” he asked, noting my empty hands.
Before I could answer, the front door burst open. The usually charming little bell clanged frantically from side to side.
Lance’s body went rigid. Caroline turned her head to see who was at the door. She rolled her eyes and muttered, “Nancy Hudson.”
“Who’s Nancy Hudson?” I started to say but was drowned out by Nancy’s shrill voice demanding that Andy get her coffee on the bar—stat.
Caroline kept her voice low. “She’s the newest OSF board member, and let’s just say she hasn’t been making many friends.”
Lance removed his glasses and fingered his goatee. “That’s for sure.” He nudged me playfully in the arm. “Speaking of poison, you don’t happen to have any hiding in the back that we can spike her coffee with?”
I laughed, and secretly felt a wave of relief that there was other gossip than my surprise return spreading around town.
Lance’s eyes darkened. To Caroline he said, “She thinks I’m kidding.”
Copyright © 2015 by Ellie Alexander
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Interesting 1st book. Timeline and times were a little 'iffy' at times but could overlook. Interested to see 2nd book.
The story started off a little slow for me. But I did like the book. I just picked this book up at the book store and decided to give it a shot. I had never read this author before .
Easy read, interesting ending.
The book kept me engrossed all the way through.
Journey to Ashford to Meet a New Baker Sleuth Obviously, I love puns. I honestly think it would be hard to be a cozy mystery reader without loving them. But when I saw the title of the first Bakeshop Mystery, it grabbed me more than many of them. I mean, with a last name of Baker, how could I pass up a book entitled Meet Your Baker? This book introduces us to Jules Capshaw. After years at sea as a pastry chef, she’s returned to her hometown of Ashford, Oregon. She’s trying to figure out what to do next with her life, but in the meantime, she’s working with her mother at Torte, the family’s bakeshop. Jules is hoping for some peace and quiet in order to figure out her life, but that’s not what she gets. Ashford is a small town, with a heavy reliance on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the politics of that festival carry over into town life. Recently, the festival has added a new board member, Nancy Hudson, and Nancy has decided that this is her serfdom to run as she sees fit. Not that she’s too pleasant when dealing with anyone, as Jules sees first hand. However, when Jules goes to open the shop one morning, she finds Nancy’s dead body on the floor of Torte’s kitchen. With the police questioning Jules’s friends and Torte’s employees, she starts trying to figure out what really happened. Can she do it? I think I was in love with this setting before I started reading the book. I love live theater, after all, and I’ve long heard of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that is Ashford’s claim to fame. I’d love to go sometime, but until that happens, getting to be a tourist via this book is a wonderful alternative. The mystery starts out quickly, giving us a taste of Nancy’s nastiness before she is murdered. She has some interesting secrets about herself and others that come out as the book progresses. There are some strong sub-plots that take center stage at times, pushing the mystery to the background. I did feel the climax was a little weak, but it does perfectly explain everything. I already like this cast of characters. Jules and her friends old and new already feel like friends, and I’m looking forward to visiting them again soon to find out what happens next to them. I did think that Jules’s reason for returning to Ashford was a little weak, but maybe that’s just me, and if I’d been in her shoes, I’d fully understand. And we get delicious sounding recipes. There are eight of them in the back of the book, including recipes for things Raspberry Danish, Brazilian Cheese Muffins, and Sweet Heat Espresso. If you are hungry for another culinary cozy series, the Bakeshop series is certainly one to consider. With the friendly characters and fun setting, it’s easy to see why it is so popular. Come Meet Your Baker, and you’ll quickly find yourself moving on to the next in the series.
Could not put it down. Peanut butter and jelly for supper.
Well written and enjoyable - loved the baking and the theater atmospheres. The impact of nearby forest fires added drama.
Title: Meet Your Baker - Bakeshop Mystery Book 1 Author: Ellie Alexander Published: 12-30-2014 Publisher: St. Martin's Press Pages: 321 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Amateur Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Women Sleuths; Culinary Mystery; Animals ISBN: 13: 9781250054234 ASIN: B00JI0RSFS Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.75 I received a copy of Meet Your Baker from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher: Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal… After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder… The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all… My Review: Ellie Alexander brings Ashland, Oregon and its residents to life for her readers. With vivid descriptions of the scenes and the vibrancy and individuality of the characters. Readers can identify with them. The plot is laid out well and flow quickly with no feeling of being forced. This is an excellent start for a new series. Alexander shows off her talent in her ability to build a story, fill it with growing suspense. There are a few clues to guide the reader in the direction the author wants them to go. Soon you can not put the book down. If you are looking for a new series to follow than this one is a perfect choice. My rating of "Meet Your Baker" is 4.75 out of 5 stars.
I just picked up this book to scan a few pages to help me decide what book to read next from my TBR pile. I am so glad I did, what a great book. I liked it so much I am going to read all of the books in this series in order until I'm all caught up. Jules Capshaw returns to her home town of Ashland, Oregon after marital issue with her chef husband. She arrives just in time to help her mother at the family bakery, Torte and to find the murdered body of a much disliked woman. Jules needs a distraction from all of her own problems so she spends a lot of time trying to figure out the puzzle of who the killer is. Putting herself in danger. This is a great book. A real hard to put down page turner.
This is going to be a great series. Juliet is a pastry chef who returns home after working on a cruise ship. She returns home to Ashland, OR to help her mother in their pastry shop and because she got her heart broken by Carlos (who she is currently married to). I loved the characters and the recipes and I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series.
After reading just a few pages of this first book I was hooked. I love mysteries and I also love Shakespeare and food and this encompasses all of those things into one unique series :) Jules is from a small town in Oregon where her mother owns THE town bake shop called Torte. Jules has returned after about 10 years of being out in the world and many years baking and cooking on cruise ships with her husband Carlos which we don't hear much about in this book, especially as to WHY she left. We mostly see Jules having flashbacks, but she falls right back into step and everyone is happy to see her back. It is very easy to see from the first few chapters just how close the community it and how they help each other - but interweaved through all of that is this air of mystery and when Jules opens Torte one morning only to find one of the meanest women in town dead it throws everyone for a loop. Is it the quiet Stephanie who turns out to be a really great baker? Or Andy the coffee guru? There are SO many people that could be the killer and honestly until the very last few chapters I had no idea who did it. Which is what makes a great read to me - you can't see the "writing on the walls" easily. I really love how no matter how bad it gets Jules is able to throw herself back into her work and still take on the mystery. The Shakespeare element runs strong through the series because the little town of Ashland is also home to a very popular Shakespeare festival which is what keeps the town going from February through October. Jules Capshaw is named after ... of course Romeo and Juliet and the way the author weaves Shakespeare elements through the books is one awesome thing I really enjoyed because I am a lover of all things Shakespeare :) So check out this series, I guarantee you won't regret it! I can't wait for more of these books as I hope On Thin Icing isn't the last we see of Jules! ***I received a complimentary book in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.***
When is a Pastry Chef on a cruise ship no longer a fun job? When your husband is “Head” Chef and has been keeping important secrets from you. So what to do? Go home….in this case home is Ashland, Oregon, which is known for its Shakespeare Festival and an adorable small bakery named Torte. For Jules Capshaw, her mom owns this shop and it’s a great place to re-group, right? Well that is until one of Torte’s customers is murdered. As someone who lives in northern Oregon, I enjoyed the references to the Shakespeare Festival and the many tourist locations in Ashland. And the recipes are to die for. Oops, really? A great read!
Is there anything better than a recipe for a fabulous Danish pastry? Yes, it’s enjoying that pastry while reading an engaging mystery. For me, that is a slice of heaven. In Meet Your Baker, Ellie Alexander has offered up some of the most mouth-watering descriptions I’ve read in a long time. From being able to almost taste the lime and mint cupcakes to feeling like you’re seeing the world through the ash and smoke of a wildfire, Alexander takes us into the story and holds us till the very end. In this book, Ashland, Oregon seems almost too good to be true, however, it is very real and very much as described. Her character Jules is a woman I’d very much like to know, and her mother reminds me a lot of my own Mom – full of wisdom, but seldom pushy. Overall, this is a very good book and a wonderful beginning to the Bakeshop Mystery series. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next one.
MEET YOUR BAKER is a sweet slice of mystery! From the moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to learn more about it. After reading the blurb on the back I was sold. I’m thrilled to say, MEET YOUR BAKER was not only everything I hoped it would be, it surpassed my expectations! Author Ellie Alexander is an incredible writer who literally had me hooked on page one. The easy flow of Ms. Alexander’s prose was hypnotic to me. That may sound over the top to you, but it’s honestly how I felt. The setting of Ashland, Oregon with the quaint streets and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival made me feel like I had found me home. And walking into to Torte, protagonist Juliet “Jules” Capshaw’s family bakery, I was enveloped in a sense of belonging. With every new character introduced, it was like being in the company of family and friends. The mystery in this story was very well done. Lots of questions leading to more intriguing questions. And the ending was such an exciting, action filled reveal. Author Alexander really has a way of making the reader feel part of her story.
I have always been a sucker for murder mysteries, and this one does not fall short. Juliet has all the mixing for an adult with a broken heart and questioning mind. I loved all the Shakespeare influence throughout the book and it really made the book even more enjoyable. Once I started reading the book I just could not put it down, I always wanted to find out what was coming next and what was going to happen to Juliet. Ashland, Oregon where is book takes place is the perfect or was the perfect small town where everyone knows their neighbors. Juliet and her mother have such a strong bond once they open up to each other. I also enjoyed that the author included recipes in the back of the book, I will have to be sure and try them out. Overall I really loved the book and look forward to the release of the second one in the series.
The main character, Juliet Capshaw, is facing some challenges in her marriage and has come home to Ashland, Oregon, to get her head on straight. The relationship between Juliet and her widowed mother, the Torte bake shop owner, is warm and appealing. In spite of their close relationship, the two have kept several life-altering secrets from each other. These secrets are revealed as the story progresses. The cast of characters was strong--most likable, some not so likable by design. I enjoyed the many references to baking, pastry recipes, and baking techniques included within the plot. The main character, Juliet (aka Jules) Capshaw is a trained pastry chef with a passion for baking. I related well to her feelings about immersing herself into baking to escape stress because of my passion for all things sewing, quilting, and crafting! The author has generously included several recipes for the baked goods found in the story. This is a well-written, 'clean', cozy mystery. The pacing of this novel was steady, with many red herrings mixed in to throw the reader off the trail of the real killer. I wasn't certain who the killer was until the last chapter. Good job, Ellie! I highly recommend this book to fans of clean fiction, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction. I received a paperback copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I will be reviewing the next installment in this series, 'A Batter of Life and Death!', releasing in July, 2015, along with participating in the blog tour for the second book. ##################
I received a copy of this book through one of the Chaotic Goddess Book Swaps. It had been on my wish list and my partner was kind enough to send it to me. I loved it. It's true that I love most cozy mysteries that include recipes. (I can't wait to try the Brazilian Cheese Muffins), but the real treat is the story. It is a well crafted mystery that kept me guessing almost to the end. There were just enough twists to keep things interesting. Jules is a strong lead character and very likable. I'm really looking forward to reading more about her. Alexander has created a delightful setting. I love it when authors create a location that I really want to visit in person. As a college English major I'd love to spend time in a town that celebrates Shakespeare and trying one of Jules' treats would make it a great visit. There are more cozy mysteries out there than I can count and way more than anyone of us could read. This is one that I highly recommend that you add to your TBR pile. It will be a great treat.
Good story. Interesting bits and pieces woven into the story about Ashland, OR and the Shakespeare Festival. Highly recommended.
The auther is one of my BFF's mom, so of course i love it, but its kind of strange to get to know her, and then read her book. She is like a totaly diffrent person