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How to Bake a Perfect Life: A Novel | [Barbara O'Neal]

How to Bake a Perfect Life: A Novel

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 15 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 15 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 13-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.

©2011 Barbara Samuel (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (23 )
5 star
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3.7 (22 )
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3.9 (22 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L.W. Idabel, OK, United States 08-03-13
    L.W. Idabel, OK, United States 08-03-13 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Listen..."

    I am attracted to books about bakers or cooks of almost any kind. But I truly love bakeries.
    I believe making bread is very rewarding, it is woven through this book. Loved that! This is a good story mainly about women of different ages, how they interact with each other, how they need one another. It is a good story with a good theme relates to todays problems and allows some the best things of the past to remain. Well paced unless you want a really fast book.
    The narration was good. I took one star away because I didn't appreciate her male voice not a problem normally. Her male voice brings the visual in my mind of a cartoon hound dog. Sorry I don't want to be mean, in my head every man had a hound face, lol. Well, produced.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina SOUTHINGTON, CONNECTICUT, United States 05-25-14
    Regina SOUTHINGTON, CONNECTICUT, United States 05-25-14 Member Since 2010

    Believer in what you can't see

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Warm and toasty"
    Where does How to Bake a Perfect Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Toward the top of the list, it's about how decisions can change your life for the better and that you never know what will be around the next corner.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Bake a Perfect Life?

    Jonah shows up in Ramona's life again and for good. It's funny how we have all these big dreams but sometimes you get something completely different.


    What does Tanya Eby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The nuances of the character, I had a more emotional connection to the characters than if I just read the book.


    If you could rename How to Bake a Perfect Life, what would you call it?

    Where the road will take you.


    Any additional comments?

    I love the actual recipes in the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 01-28-14
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2010

    Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simple story"
    Would you try another book from Barbara O'Neal and/or Tanya Eby?

    No, I don't think so. The writing is good, but the storyline was rather boring - not that problems of the characters are boring, it was just something other writers have covered as well.


    What three words best describe Tanya Eby’s voice?

    she was ok.


    Do you think How to Bake a Perfect Life needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Glad I got it on sale

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorna Johannesburg, South Africa 09-23-13
    Lorna Johannesburg, South Africa 09-23-13 Member Since 2010

    I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Any book about food and love... I'm hooked!"

    Any story that is surrounded by food, baking, love and relationships and I'm hooked. So here I'm a little biased. Well written with believable characters, the only thing is that the male voices do sound like Scooby Doo... A bit too Goofy to be taken seriously. A bit off putting when your're trying to imagine a serious moment and Scooby starts talking.

    Apart from this and if you can overlook this small issue, the overall story is good, with poignant moments between other and daughter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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