Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Books I've Read: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

With the main library closed, I've been going to one of the local branch libraries to find books to read.  The branch libraries are small and don't seem to have a lot of new books on the shelves.  Maybe they are all out with readers, or maybe they just don't get a lot of new books.  Whatever the case, the last time I went, I struggled to find anything I hadn't already read, or that I wanted to read.  So I picked up this book on a whim.

It wasn't a bad book, but it felt very superficial.  Rachel has an unusual ability: she can make peoples' wishes come true.  Unfortunately, they don't always work out the way people want.  After spending much of her childhood in institutions after accidentally wishing her younger brother out of existence and trying to convince people around her that he had once lived and breathed beside her, Rachel has learned to ignore the wishes floating around her.  Mostly.

But when her best friend's daughter's birthday wish somehow comes true, Rachel decides to leave.  She has no destination in mind, just packs her things, jumps into her car and drives.  Until she runs out of gas in front of a house in a small town called Nowhere, North Carolina.

She is taken in for the night by a feisty old woman called Catch, and is soon eyeing up the handsome neighbor, Ashe who seems almost too good to be true.  The longer she stays in Nowhere, the more she feels she belongs, that the town itself is holding her there for its own reasons.  And she becomes more certain that maybe this is the place she's meant to have been all along.

I liked the way this books wove magic into what is basically a romance novel or 'women's fiction'.  Both Catch and Rachel have unusual gifts that need to be controlled to be useful.

The character development wasn't great though.  Ashe never seemed anything other than too good to be true, and his ex-wife, despite the little twist in who she actually is, was just an archetypal bitchy ex-wife unwilling to let go of the man who loved and trusted her.  Only Catch, the outspoken, fiery old woman who takes Rachel in seems to have a real life inside her.

So while I enjoyed reading this to some degree, it didn't really change my life in any way.  Rachel's traumas were not explored or dealt with in any depth, and there were a few too many convenient coincidences to be truly believable.  It was a little like the pies Catch makes - flaky, sweet and tasty, but not enough to sustain you for any length of time.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb.

26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

1 comment:

  1. It does seem to have an interesting twist, although I'm not really wowed by the blurb.