Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Lost Art of Mixing, Erica Bauermeister (4 stars)

About The Lost Art of Mixing

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (January 24, 2013)

National bestselling author Erica Bauermeister returns to the enchanting world of The School of Essential Ingredients in this luminous sequel.

Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .

Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.


There's an interesting and engaging set of characters in The Lost Art of Mixing. Lillian is the at the center of an intricate story about relationships and self-discovery. She is in a relationship with a man who can't quite let go of another, and she's facing an unexpected development in the plan she had for her life.

Like any good recipe, varied ingredients work together to make an enjoyable concoction. In this story, it's the varied complexities of the characters that come together. Their stories, which often appear separate, affect and enrich those around them.

Al, Lillian's accountant, and his wife, Louise, are struggling with their marriage and their identities. His methods of dealing affect Chloe who is coming back from heartbreak with the help of Isabelle and Finnegan. Finnegan finds himself through others' stories and gives Chloe a way to look at her own. Isabelle fights the inevitable loss of herself as her memories begin to fade away, while also passing along her wisdom and experience to all of those around her... as long as she still can.

The lovely thing about stories rich in good characters is that readers have many opportunities to connect. Although all the characters were interesting enough to keep my attention, I found myself most drawn to Isabelle, Chloe, and Finnegan. Isabelle had a vulnerability that stole my heart while still having a compelling inner strength. Chloe and Finnegan were the couple to root for; I wanted them to find their individual strength as well as their way to each other. Plus, I loved Finnegan's attraction to people's stories.

Although this novel doesn't offer page-turning action, the author does build an engrossing character and relationship study. It shows just how interconnected we all are. I look forward to reading the prequel, The School of Essential Ingredients, and finding out more about these memorable characters.

I highly recommend this novel to readers who appreciate a well-written story full of characters that find a way into your heart. 

Rating: 4 stars

About Erica Bauermeister

Erica Bauermeister is the author of The School of Essential Ingredients and Joy for Beginners. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Thanks to TLC Tours for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the The Lost Art of Mixing blog tour page


Additional Praise for The Lost Art of Mixing

“Erica Bauermeister writes prose delicious enough to devour. Like a fine meal, The Lost Art of Mixing will leave you warm in your belly, full in your heart, and very, very pleased. You might even find yourself going back for seconds.”–Tiffany Baker, NYT bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

“Erica Bauermeister mixes gorgeous prose, luscious detail, and heartfelt characters — new friends and old — to reveal just how colorful and warm life in the rainy Pacific Northwest can be.”–Laurie Frankel, author of Good-bye for Now


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this "delicious" novel!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.