Author: Erica Bauermeister
Publisher: G. P. Putman
Synopsis (from bn.com):
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.
My thoughts: I am rather conflicted about this book as I sit here and write this review. I am feeling that my thoughts about this book may very well have to do with my reading of it rather than the book itself. All you readers out there know what I am talking about right? Sometimes you find out that when and how you read the book has a great effect on your overall feelings toward the book.
This book, “The Lost Art of Mixing”, is a continuation of sorts of Bauermeister’s “The School of Essential Ingredients”. We trace the same characters that we met in Lillian’s kitchen during her cooking classes further into their lives and their relationships. I absolutely loved “The School of Essential Ingredients” and her first novel “Joy for Beginners” for that matter, but somehow just didn’t connect with this latest book in the same way. I didn’t feel a connection with the characters in the same way I did when I first met them. I somehow felt that they were distant and that their stories didn’t seem as genuine and authentic as they had in the first novel. Lillian, the main character, who I grew to love as a warm, caring, kind, compassionate individual, really felt cold and distant in this book. Perhaps it was just the author’s way of portraying to the reader some of the life events and stresses that Lillian in fact is dealing with in the book – of course I can’t be sure, but given my love for Erica Bauermeister’s writing, I am going to go with this.
Overall, as I said above, perhaps it was just because I got a bit distracted while reading this book and it took me longer than it should of. I read the first two novels each in one day, almost in one sitting, so I really engaged with the story.
I did enjoy “The Lost Art of Mixing”, just not on the same level that I was moved by her other two novels. Bauermeister’s writing style still is one of my absolute favorites and I never quite have the words to describe it – it is lyrical, descriptive, beautiful, almost like a song. She sucks you in and you care about the lives of the characters.
Give this author a try if you haven’t. You definitely will not regret it.
Books Are Life,