"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell (review)

Vanity Fare
Author:  Megan Caldwell
Publisher: William Morrow, an Imprint of Harper Collins Publisher
Published: 2013
Pages: 598
Includes recipes!
ISBN 9780062188366
Source:  a complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

"Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman; her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and now so is she.  In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokemon and Legos, not to mention food and clothing, she has to get a job -- fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a freelance position copywriting for a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind.  But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts.  And then so does Molly, when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner -- who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own happily ever after." (from the cover)

My Thoughts:

I devoured Vanity Fare, relishing and savouring the ingredients therein.   It was simply that delicious mix of snarky protagonist, attractive men and humour that made this novel so much fun to read!  Add some decadent recipes at the end (courtesy of Emily Isaac of Trois Pommes Patisserie) and you have a complete package for an afternoon of you time!

Megan Caldwell fleshes out the characters of Vanity Fare with personality -- brooding and yet warm underneath, or sexy and arrogant (don't the two always go hand in hand?), or snivelling and adulterous in another.  These are the men in Molly's life.  I mustn't forget one most important young man, though; Molly's son is as adorable in his tantrums as in his obvious devotion and trust.  He's a sweet little man whom Molly considers the only thing worthwhile that resulted from her marriage.

Faced with the uncertainty of a single mom raising a six year old with no income, Molly must do things she would never do in a million years like taking on a copywriting job for an ad agency representing a new destination bakery in her city, New York; facing her ex; scrapbooking; to name a few.  With the support of two very good friends (we all need friends like these two), her therapist and her mother; Molly finds the strength to face the challenges life has dealt her.  What she wasn't counting on is the sexy and very attentive baker; nor his business counterpart, the serious and very handsome brooding man with whom she must work closely in preparation for the grand opening and for whom she tries to fight an overwhelming attraction.  (Whatever is a girl to do?)

Vanity Fare, however, is not just a piece of fluff women's fiction nor a romance.  It has substance in plot development, with well-rounded and imperfect characters, and the struggles Molly faces and must overcome are tangible and relatable.  All the necessary ingredients and excellent writing, make this novel a satisfying and palatable read.  

In addition to the novel, Megan Caldwell prefaces each chapter with a sample of the copywriting Molly prepared for several items the new bakery, Vanity Fare, would offer.  The product is a play on words utilizing works of literature like "The Bun Also Rises" -- catch the pun? -- "There's nothing so wonderful as an item that delivers what it has promised.  In this case, it's fresh, fresh, freshly risen bread, so fresh it practically deserves to be slapped.  Its buttery-rich crust encases a delicately moist centre, swirled with Spanish chocolate." I simply must try "Much Ado About Muffins"! (recipe included at the book's end)

Vanity Fare offers real potential as a book club selection, focusing on the challenges and changes in Molly's life and how she learned from her past to benefit her and her son's future makes good discussion material.

Meet the author:

Megan Caldwell grew up in a remote town in New Hampshire where she devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents' library.  An English literature major at Barnard College with double minors in political science and religion, Megan wrote and edited reviews for a music industry magazine for fifteen years.  Eventually, she became editor-in-chief and went on to develop conference programs for the industry.  Now she is the community manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance novel website, where she blogs daily as Megan Frampton about the fiction she reads.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Author's blog:  www.MeganFrampton.com
Facebook:  Facebook.com/MaganCaldwellbkny
Twitter:  @meganf


  1. Honestly, it's the recipes that are calling me.

    1. Freda, there are definitely some delicious looking recipes in Vanity Fare! I can't wait to try them all!

    2. Thanks for visiting Freda!

  2. I love a snarky protagonist. :)

    I'm really curious about the recipes included in the book! I'd love to try some of them.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    1. Trish, you will have to read this one! The recipes look irresistible!

  3. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it...the six year-old son is based on my own son (even tho he's a lot older now!), and I'm glad he sounded true to life.

    Megan Frampton (w/a Megan Caldwell)

    1. Megan, I am so thrilled you stopped by! I love how you took Vanity Fare up a notch, including little life lessons that we can all benefit from. Thank you for the pleasure of reading your novel!

  4. I enjoyed Vanity Fare as well though Molly took a while to grow on me. I just didn't think she was a witty or funny as she was meant to be.

    1. Alexis, I wouldn't necessarily call her "funny" either but she can be snarky which makes for some fun moments!

  5. You have chosen an excellent book to be reviewed. I haven't read this book and I am repenting why I haven't been able to lay my hands on this excellent work of fiction. Very interesting course of events. Molly is distraught and heart broken over the infidelity of her husband, couple that with the tantrums of a growing son. Life is not easy for her, then she lands up a job, through which she hopes to provide for her son.

    But cupid strikes when she meets the sexy British chef, while that was happening, his business partner also comes in the fray and she is secretly attracted to him also. Now if this does not makes for an interesting plot then what else? I am dying to know, what happened next?

    This book on my reading table, first thing in the morning!

    Jeff Rivera

    Bestselling Author



  6. Jeff, you pretty much nailed the plot! I hope you enjoy it and I will be sure to check out your link to what appears to be a humorous read! Thanks for dropping by. I really appreciate the time you put into this comment!! Have a terrific weekend!

  7. This sounds really great and right up my alley. Always love the stories with unexpected romances. Love that bits of the copywriting as well as recipes are included as well. How fun! This is on my "to read" list now.

    1. I hope you will let me know your opinion when you have read this book. Just send a link my way and I'll be sure to visit!

      Have a terrific weekend!

  8. This sounds so good....thanks for the great review.

    And...thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and commenting on SEVEN LOCKS.

    Silver's Reviews

    1. Do let me know if you read Vanity Fare Elizabeth. I'd love to know what you think!


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