Friday, August 29, 2014

'The Good Day Baking Company' by Adele Wyn Eddy

Lorena Woods escapes the confines of an environment that's become harsh and oppressive. She's determined to search out a new and better life. She has a few unusual mindsets too that go along on her passage of discovery. Mindsets like the need to analyze people's teeth, taking ice cold showers, and a mild obsession with dreaming up new cookie creations.

Lorena's adventurous journey involves some strange job placements in which she meets some odd characters, most are friendly, a few dangerous. But, after a heartbreak in Texas and a bad accident force her to move back home, Lorena struggles to hold out hope for herself and her future.

This is when Lorena learns who she really is, when she finds a dear friend near death having been attacked by a savage maniac who then begins stalking Lorena too.

Lorena holds tightly to the lessons of her beloved father who died when she was still a child. She knows what she needs to do, but she questions her own strength and nerve? Will she have the courage and intelligence to face the dangerous situatuon head on? And, what about her past and her own inner hindrances that keep tripping her up? Lorena can't stop until the road is clear and until, hopefully, freedom is the essence of every breathe.

Come along on a wonderful, sometimes hilarious trip with a young resilient woman whose heart you'll see is bigger and almost stronger than all of the hurdles of life.

Lorena Woods is a resilient young woman who lost her beloved Daddy when she was only seven, but always carried deep inside the stories he used to tell her to help guard her heart. One of her life mottoes was his advice, 'Always look where you're going and you'll be fine.'

She narrates her own story, taking us through a string of tedious jobs and tricky relationships until she finds her sweet spot. Although Lorena's life experiences are often less than desirable, she retains her sense of optimism and always shrugs off hassles with some droll, philosophical observation about the nature of life. Lorena worked at a dry cleaner's shop, an egg farm, an auto factory assembly line, as a trucker and a deliverer for a catering company, just to get by.

I loved this sweet, wise girl who sees work as the means to an end, and enjoys nothing more than staying home, fiddling around with cookie recipes, adapting them to make them her own. She also loves to read and deeply ponder the books. Her reflections about whatever is happening in her own story often lead into some fascinating contemplations. I looked forward to these little segues and asides. From any other character, they might have slowed a story down, but from Lorena, they add spice and character.

An unusual thing about this book is that, when you think about it, a big part of the plot had more to do with her best friend, Deb, than it did about Lorena. From other authors, Deb might have been the main character with Lorena as a quirky secondary character, but it works so well with Lorena as the central focus, with her fresh way of explaining things. There are some twists and action too, so get ready for it.

Lorena begins and ends the story by explaining that some strokes of good fortune don't have to be striven for but are just dropped in your lap. That's what happened with this book, which I didn't know about but found its way to me. It deserves full marks just because it's so easy to take a lot of good on board from Lorena's attitude.

I sometimes like to finish a book review with a quote or two from the book, and this one has an abundance to choose from, as Lorena collects quotes as I do, knowing that they may come from unexpected sources. I think I'll go with Aunt Ruby's, 'Gravy is like happiness. You can't store it up and put a label on it. You've got to learn to take it as it comes, moment by moment,' and Cousin LD's, 'I might not be a rich man, but I've got a millionaire's view. I'm no philosopher, but I've got time to think things over. And I may not be a preacher or saint, but I sure know every day how blessed I am right here.' Then, of course, there's her memory of her Daddy, saying, 'Self pity is something to be avoided at all costs, because it is closely related to fear and shame. You have to take the garbage out every day or the house will start to smell bad.'

Thanks to the author for a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review.

5 stars

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