A Pinch of Ooh La La
Author : renee swindle
pages : [paperback] 336
favorite character : bendrix &
To get to happily ever after, sometimes you need to start from scratch….
Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes. But lately, Abbey’s own love life has become stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix, Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date.
Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey thinks of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy.
Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.
A Pinch of Ooh La La has good ideas, yet doesn’t execute them well. I went into the book thinking it’d be a cutesy story about Abbey’s search for love as well as finding herself. Unfortunately I was disappointed with how this book played out.
Abbey is nearing forty and sees her chance to be a mother ticking away as time goes on. There’s no harm in her worry because I think that she’d be a wonderful mother; seeing the way she interacted with her younger siblings as well as nieces and nephews only confirmed that. But she’s much too eager to find a man to ‘complete’ her life, especially when she’s doing very well on her own and has had terrible experiences with men in the past. Enter online dating (as it always happens in novels, she’s forced into it by her friends; I’ve never seen a story where online dating is the woman’s idea) and finally Samuel. He’s gorgeous, successful, and is quite nice to her. Unfortunately, as soon as Abbey meets him in the book, that’s when the plot begins to get awkward. She goes on a few dates with him and all of a sudden the novel skips ahead nine months. Then it starts skipping years. When I picked up this book I never imagined that the plot was going to cover such an enormous time span! It felt too forced and I couldn’t grasp how characters were developing when we weren’t given a chance to see them.
I also didn’t enjoy how predictable this novel was. While I really did like Abbey’s character, I didn’t understand some of the things that she put up with. She had such a strong family preaching great values to her, even if they were an unconventional family, that I can’t fathom some of her decisions. I’m not going to spoil anything, but during the novel I knew that I’d be extremely mad if it didn’t end the way that I was thinking it should. Some of the relationships in this book just aren’t healthy and it’s frustrating when characters, through no explanation, deal with insulting circumstances without a fight.
While I do think that so much could have been done with this book, I’m not sure that others will like it more than I did. Perhaps people who are older, closer to Abbey’s age, might enjoy reading such a novel because it does end with a good message. I particularly appreciated that. Yet for now, I think I’d say to skip this book.