The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig

I just finished this book and I am just aching to write a review. For some reason I feel like I have many things to say about it, even though it was just a ‘meh’ book.

Maybe it’s because this book had the potential to be a bit better. It still wouldn’t have been perfect, nothing to rave about, but it would’ve been a solid 3-star read. But honestly, it felt like a draft of a novel, not the finished product.

The sin it suffers the most from is too many plot points crammed into a short book, many of them leading to dead ends or underwhelming conclusions. There’s a budding romance between two secondary characters that is just a few sentences here and there and never amounts to anything. The main character’s absent father is also mentioned even though it has nothing to do with the plot and it’s again an issue solved in a sentence. Even the main character’s marriage problems, which are given some attention throughout the book, are solved really quickly. Not to mention some traumatic events that side characters go through that are handled in a very by-the-way manner which the gravity of the situation doesn’t allow.

The main character has an almost magical sense of taste which she uses to help other people. However this is just thrown at random moments in the book and never has a real meaning as a plot device. The main problem is not even solved with the help of this skill, it’s solved by sheer luck and a random chain of events.

The beginning of the book implies that food is a much more important element than it actually is. Cupcakes and wedding cakes are mentioned in passing but they never have the importance that the first few chapters imply.

There is also a number of underdeveloped side characters. They were just a string of names that I couldn’t keep a track of between the useless plot points and sloppy writing. I think the author was trying to do the whole “small town where everyone knows everyone” thing, but it just didn’t work and made things even more confusing.

However it was still not a horrible book. It was not infuriatingly bad, just very underwhelming and I think we should keep in mind that this was the author’s debut novel. But if you expect this to be the new Chocolat, don’t get your hopes up.