Those who know me know I absolutely adore cozy mysteries and I’ve been advocating them since I discovered them awhile ago. I really don’t think they get enough recognition as they should when they’re highly entertaining, adorable and takes you on a ride of twist and turns with all the red herrings. I have read Ellie Alexander before but not her entire series, so I was so happy when I finally did a buddy read with friends for Meet Your Baker.
Meet Your Baker takes place in Ashland, Oregon during a time where forest fires are running rampant and smoke is causing a nuisance for Ashland residents. Juliet “Jules” Capshaw returns to her hometown after several years as a pastry chef for a cruise liner after leaving her husband and goes to help out at her mom’s bakery called Torte.
After a murder takes place in Torte, Jules is sucked into the investigation of who murdered the local theatre’s newest board of director and tries gets to the bottom of the murder with the help of the town’s police officer, Deputy Thomas Adams, who also happens to be Jules’ ex-boyfriend.
I love Jules’ character. She was persistent in finding out what was truly going on with the bakery’s business but also vulnerable in not knowing what she was going to do with her husband who did her wrong. Jules also was open-minded in finding solutions to issues that arose, but she was a little careless in digging into the murder investigation. Also, her and her mother would leave the bakery unlocked several times after a murder occurred within the bakery! That frustrated me to no end but then again, goes to show Alexander’s writing pulled me into the story, which played out like a movie.
I also loved the potential romance element to the series where I can see Jules will have to choose between her husband, Carlos, Thomas or even neither. Although, I’m all about Team Thomas! One of my favourite quotes in the novel reveals Jules' uncertainty regarding matters of the heart mixed with her love of baking:
If only love was like baking. Someone hands you a recipe for a lasting relationship and you follow it step-by-step.
Overall, this book kept me on my toes the entire time and kept me guessing who the killer might be. Alexander’s characters were well developed and I look forward to getting to know them better throughout the series.
Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it's criminal...
After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte's customers turns up dead, there's much ado about murder...
The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival's newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her...but still. The silver lining? Jules's high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can't help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all...
Author Bio (from Alexander's website)
Ellie Alexander (also known as Kate Dyer-Seeley) is a Pacific Northwest native. Her love for the Pacific Northwest runs deep. Hence why all of her books (whether she’s writing as Ellie or Kate) are set here. From the Shakespearean hamlet of Ashland, Oregon to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington to the hipster mecca of Portland, Oregon and a variety of other stunning outdoor locales, the Pacific Northwest is a backdrop for every book and almost becomes another character in each series.
When not writing, you can find her testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouse or brewpubs nearby. You’ll also find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of “research”.