A down-home, feel-good debut Southern romance, From Scratch explores one woman’s journey back home to Dallas, Texas, where her family is cooking up a plan that doesn’t quite suit her tastes…
Thirty-year-old Lillie Turner grew up with maple syrup stuck to her skin and bacon grease splattered on her clothes, courtesy of working in the family diner. Thank goodness she escaped all that when she moved to Chicago five years ago. Now a successful strategy consultant and newly engaged to a man who complements her like biscuits and gravy, she has everything she wants.
When an urgent phone call about her father’s health pulls Lillie back to Dallas, she soon learns it was a ruse to bring her home so she can run the diner she’d rather avoid and compete in the Upper Crust, an annual baking competition, with no option to withdraw. Lillie is furious and ready to run back to Chicago, but her father’s haggard appearance makes her wonder if he’s hiding something. Things go from bad to worse when Nick, her handsome ex and the only man she ever truly loved, reappears, looking as scrumptious as ever.
Lillie’s trip home forces her to question the path she’s chosen, find her place in the family she abandoned, and wonder if the life she left behind is what she really wants after all.
Goodman's debut Southern contemporary is smart, sexy, and funny. Lillie Turner grew up in Dallas, where her father runs a diner. Now she lives in Chicago, wielding her M.B.A. and engaged to picture-perfect Drew. While trying to keep up with an important project, she's drawn back into the life she left behind, as her father needs surgery and asks her to take over the diner in his absence. As Lillie reunites with her childhood friends, she is surprised at how much they haven't shared with her over the past five years. Then she encounters her ex, Nick, and is disturbed by her continuing attraction to him. As Lillie learns to face the demons of her past and comes to grips with having been abandoned by her mother, she must make some difficult choices. Readers will easily identify with Lillie, a strong and independent woman who is torn between her desire for business success and her search for true contentment. Goodman piles on the Southern charm to make this story a winner.
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From Scratch by Rachel Goodman
I loved this book! Like a great movie, I kept thinking about it for days and days after I finished reading it. An easy read. I can't wait for her next book to come out!
3.5 Stars rounded
3.5 Stars rounded
Rachel Goodman’s debut offering gives you a lovely slice of ‘lose yourself in a book’, but be warned: you will want to snack through most of it! I read this title in one sitting, and it was a second chance at romance story with plenty of family memories, favorite foodstuffs, some betrayals and lots of heart.
Lillie dashed off to Chicago leaving the family diner behind in Texas. She’s refocused her life successfully: a career and a new fiancé, she’s not looking over her shoulder at what was. Until she is pulled back to Texas because of her father’s bad health and an upcoming ‘you can’t back out of if” baking competition coming up.
Utterly engaging, Goodman’s writing style brings a fresh voice to a familiar trope: returning home and facing your long ago love is always a favorite with readers, instantly engaging our what-if thoughts. Lillie’s worries about her father’s health are just one more thing to deal with after coming face to face with Nick. And the “Bless your heart” (if you live in the south, you know that this means exactly the opposite) ladies, not to mention some pretty serious disdain and hurt feelings from those she left behind.
Nick was Lillie’s BFF since childhood, her first love and the first man to break her heart and spirit. His own refusal to give while taking everything when they were younger nearly broke her. But, now, after her life is moving ni a direction that is good for her, she’s brought back to Texas. And has that old quickening heartbeat and flutter to deal with when she sees Nick. But, there is Drew, waiting for her in Chicago, expecting a quick return.
Laden with deceptions all meant ‘for Lillie’s sake”, hurt feelings, unresolved angers, passive aggressive judgments made with a Bless Your Heart and a smile and Lillie’s torn feelings between family obligation and loyalties and her own desires made this one that was difficult to put down. So often, romance ignores the ‘messier’ side of life and the obligations and expectations that are contrary to our own desires and career path. Goodman navigated those minefields nicely with great character development and voice, solid secondary characters that have you laughing or groaning in equal measure and the question of Lillie’s final decision.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.