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Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature, and love
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Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature, and love

4.1 17
by Megan Caldwell

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Vanity Fare is a charming tale of food, family, literature, and romance in which a 40-year-old newly single Brooklyn mother embarks on a culinary writing career and finds herself at the center of a deliciously tempting love triangle.

Molly Hagan—“a heroine who’s wittier than Ellen DeGeneres on speed” (New York Times


Vanity Fare is a charming tale of food, family, literature, and romance in which a 40-year-old newly single Brooklyn mother embarks on a culinary writing career and finds herself at the center of a deliciously tempting love triangle.

Molly Hagan—“a heroine who’s wittier than Ellen DeGeneres on speed” (New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries) is overwhelmed. Her cheating husband left her for a younger blonde, her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and she’s starting a job as a copywriter for a local Brooklyn bakery.

She doesn’t need the complications of a new love. But the bakery’s sexy British pastry chef is determined to win her heart. And there is his intimidating and oh so irresistible business partner...who happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After.

Funny and sweet, Megan Caldwell’s charming romantic novel includes five delicious recipes developed with the pastry chef from Union Square Café.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in present-day New York, Caldwell's new novel concerns insecure Brooklynite Molly Hagan, a soon-to-be-single mother heading up an important marketing campaign for sexy celebrity dessert chef Simon Baxter; in the process, she becomes smitten with his colleague. After her erstwhile husband announces that he won't be able to pay child support, Molly accepts an assignment writing copy for a celebrity pastry chef from John, a mutual friend of her and her husband's. But there's more to the job than writing; John wants Molly to "keep an eye on" his cold, shady partner, Natalie Duran, who lands the kind of high-profile clients that John has "only dreamed of." Simon's business partner, Nick, is suspicious of Molly's credentials, but his good looks and soft-spot for Molly's Pokémon-obsessed son make Molly swoon. Will all the flirting—between Molly and John, Simon and Molly, and Molly and Nick—get in the way of Molly's work, both covert and otherwise? Caldwell, who writes romance novels as Megan Frampton, has a good feel for New York City, name-checking institutions and peopling her world with multiethnic characters. Though the usual chick lit tropes, like convenient coincidences (how many times can Molly run into her husband and his new girlfriend?), make it necessary to suspend one's disbelief, Caldwell's story flows, and although Molly's constant self-doubt and whining can be grating, readers will identify with her attempts to rise from the ashes. Agent: Louise Fury, L. Perkins Agency. (Jan.)
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“...a charming winter read...”
Chick Lit Reviews
“It has everything I could ask for in a book, a brilliant plot, brilliant characters, witty writing (I LOVE witty writing), it’s snarky, it’s just plain fantastic. Do pick up Vanity Fare, it will surprise you — in the best way possible.”
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"...a charming winter read..."
Library Journal
Molly Hagan's divorce is about to be finalized. Her confidence and self-esteem are slowly returning as her therapist and her friends encourage her to try new things. She tries scrapbooking, karaoke, and dating, but when her ex loses his job, she is forced to return to work in marketing to support herself and her six-year-old son. At the same time her mother moves in with her to deal with her own financial crisis. Molly lands a job promoting a new bakery, whose award-winning British chef is interested in more than her literary puns. The man who represents its American investors, Nick Harrison, seems bent on disapproving of Molly—but perhaps not. VERDICT This story follows a true-romance formula told in chick-lit style. It is trite and predictable entertainment, with the requisite happy ending. Recipes are included! Caldwell manages a romance-novel website and blogs there daily. Recommended for chick-lit fans.—Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence
Kirkus Reviews
Can a 40-year-old divorced mom find happiness with a rich, dashing pastry chef? Surprisingly not, in this pleasing debut of single parenthood, temp jobs and literary desserts. Molly's story is sadly familiar: While helping her husband, Hugh, through law school, Molly put her career on hold and then gave it up entirely when Aidan was born. Now that Hugh has run off with a younger woman and lost his job with an investment bank, Molly is without child support, health insurance or much of a future. Thankfully, her friend John throws some copy-editing work her way, but when he calls with a bigger project, it may be the thing to re-establish her career. Celebrity chef Simon is opening a bakery across from the New York Public Library and needs a clever theme to tie the world of fatty delights to old, fat novels. Molly barely hears the assignment, mesmerized as she is by Simon's green eyes, thick hair and roguish charm. And he's flirting with her. In a British accent. Molly is soon coming up with pithy dessert names--A Room of One's Scone, A Raisin in the Bun, Tart of Darkness (the menu descriptions begin each chapter)--allowing her love of punning to finally pay off. Too bad she has to work with Simon's American partner, Nick, a bad-tempered businessman who seems permanently disappointed in Molly. As she juggles work, Aidan (she's the kind of real-world mom whose parenting includes a few too many hours of TV mixed with liberal bribes of Pokémon) and now her bankrupt mother, who has moved in, Molly tests the dating waters with Simon. Simon may be hot, but it turns out he is also obnoxious, self-centered and controlling. Molly's friends encourage her to sleep with him anyway, but she's beginning to have feelings for Nick, who is not as forbidding as he seemed. Caldwell's light intrigues and bevy of supporting characters cast an old-fashioned spell on her modern Brooklyn romance.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Megan Caldwell grew up in a remote town in New Hampshire where she devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents' library. An English literature major at Barnard College with double minors in political science and religion, Megan wrote and edited reviews for a music industry magazine for fifteen years. Eventually, she became editor-in-chief and went on to develop conference programs for the industry. Now she is the community manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance novel website, where she blogs daily as Megan Frampton about the fiction she reads. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

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Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature, and love 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
anniemichelle More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book to curl up on the couch with and read. Molly Hagen&rsquo;s husband left her and their 6 yr. old son for a younger, blonder woman. At her wits end with no child support, help finally comes in the form of an old friend who gives her a job as a copywriter for a new bakery in town. The last thing on Molly&rsquo;s mind is romance but, with a sexy baker and an arrogant handsome Business partner romance is exactly what she finds. The food puns are fun and the recipes at the end were a welcome &ldquo;the end&rdquo; for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was witty, charming, heartfelt and so fun to read! I loved it! I was excited to go home and read it at night and happy to pass it along to my friends and co-workers looking for something fun and light to read.  I don't often read chick lit, but I am glad I picked this one up and would highly recommend to anyone needing something lighthearted or a laugh.  Plus, the main character's addiction to coffee and patries was totally relatable to me! Enjoy!
A_Bonilla More than 1 year ago
Okay, I might gush about this book a little, because I absolutely adored it! Heartfelt, witty, and emotional. I usually gauge a good book by whether or not it makes me cry, and I teared up more than once while reading this. I could relate to Molly's character, her insecurities, and I cheered her on as she found her inner strength.  I loved the food/literature puns that preceded each chapter and the supporting characters were wonderful. There was nothing overdone   about this story. It felt real. The characters felt real. Molly's divorce, her son, and her life were real.  And to top it all off, there are recipes at the end of the book! For pastries! You just can't beat that.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings This book was centered around a woman who is in the middle of going through a pretty bad divorce, while raising her son and trying to find the next job to support her family.  With three leading men in this book, the reader was left to wonder who would end up in her life, if anyone at the end of the book.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you find books that you hear are either good or not, depending on the ratings sometimes. And then when you read the book yourself, you find that they were right. Or you find a nice surprise and actually like the book. I really liked this one. The writing was good, especially the food mentions and descriptions of the different food book titles for each chapter. Oh right, the book. I wasn't sure I was going to like this. But the more I read it, the more I wanted to see the MC succeed for herself and son. The characters I liked as well, like John, Lissa and her therapist. Especially Nick. I mean near the end, I had a big smile on my face. And was like, thank you an MC using the common sense. Much appreciated book. And character development. Also, that cover is eye catching. Cookies and books. A good combo. Basically, this was a good book themed book. And glad I finally read this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charming story of a middle aged mom from Brooklyn who's husband leaves her, forcing her to dive back into the workforce. A fun, witty read perfect to unwind with after the hectic holidays. Looking forward to future works of the same genre by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I loved the literature food connections. I also loved Molly who finally found the right man to love. Loved her son, Aidan as well. This book was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I look forward to future novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CarolASM More than 1 year ago
Completely down-to-earth character that anyone can identify with on some level. Witty, smart and sometimes hilarious, banter. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are beautifully developed. Need more books from Megan Caldwell!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading this book i feel the need to read some classics. This is a fun chick lit book that inspires you want to read a smart book or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be fun. The plot was very well done, and I kept reading later and later into the night to finish the book and get to the ending.  I didn't feel the book was the least bit predictable.  I was very happy with the ending.  A delightful summer read in my book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Molly's life is a mess.  Her husband leaves her for a younger woman, loses his job and informs her that he won't be able to pay child support.  Her mother is in financial trouble and forced to move in with Molly and her son.  She needs a job.  Fast.  While looking for a permanent job, she finds a temporary copy-writing job working on a project with a big celebrity chef and his somber partner.  On top of these problems, Molly has insecurities and worries brought on by her husband and years of not speaking up for herself.  Molly soon finds that as long as she has her coffee and her son, she's prepared to face her problems. There were so many things done incredibly well with this book and few things that just bugged the heck out of me.  All in all, Molly really grew on me and found myself able to just sit back and enjoy.  Oh and did you see this cover and caption?  It's so cute.  That alone made me want to set aside a whole afternoon to read this book and drink coffee.  If that isn't enough, there are cute catchy book/bakery puns that were quite adorable.  I loved them.  However, the story didn't quite match the vibe that I was expecting based on the cover and packaging.   I didn't find Molly that funny or witty and there were a few contradictions to her character that I just didn't get.  The funny/witty moments were there but many just fell flat for me.  But that little disappointment aside, this was good read.  Molly experienced so much growth and grew into a confident person.  Her interactions with her son was cute and seemed real to life.  Plus, the romance was super cute.  It made me smile and feel all warm inside.  Just like coffee.  I also liked how the book ended.  It threw a huge surprise out but seemed more realistic.  The side characters were likable and fun, though a bit one-dimensional.  I enjoyed learning about their conflicts and resolutions.   Overall, not what I expected but well worth the read. P.S.  I was quite impressed with the overall vision of this book (geeky I know).  I felt like there was a common theme from the front cover all the way through to the description.  While I'm not doing flips over the story, I don't think I would give this book away.  It's a keeper and I want it in my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walks in, knowing which mare he wishes to share his den. He lays down, then closes his eyes, daydreaming.