From Publishers Weekly
Ruth, a Minneapolis wife and mother, bakes to relax the way others do yoga. And it's a good thing she does, because a house full of cantankerous family members seriously challenges her ability to remain serene in this fluffy, enjoyable third novel by Ray (Julie and Romeo; Step-Ball-Change). Cake is Ruth's version of Zen, allowing her to lose herself in the ritual of familiar smells and precise measurements. She's dealing well with her moody teen daughter, Camille; college student son, Wyatt; and sometimes cantankerous live-in mother, Hollis. She's even handling husband Sam's recent unemployment. But when Guy, Ruth's oft-estranged father and Hollis's ex-husband, is left physically helpless after an injury and must join the chaotic household, just how much cake will she have to bake to save her sanity? The answer is predictably uplifting. Ruth falls right in line with Ray's past harried heroines: she is a cheerful and good-natured caretaker who doesn't neglect herself, but whose happiness and identity is utterly intertwined with her family's. Ray's dialogue is ripe with practical wisdom ("`Oh, there's order in the world all right. It just might not be the order you want'"), and her style is warm and lightly funny ("My mother looked at me as if I had told her I was going to move to Memphis and join an Elvis cult"). Ray has a proven talent for everyday dramas of family life, and her latest is as toothsome as its predecessors.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ruth, with a teenage daughter, a son in college, and her mother living with the family, finds her life complicated by her husband's sudden unemployment and news that her long-divorced father has been injured and needs a place to recover. Once again Ray, author of Julie and Romeo
(2000) and Step-Ball-Change
(2002), presents a heroine beset with sufficient problems to make her run screaming off the pages, but one also gifted with enough common sense and gumption to solve the problems she can, and cope with the ones she can't. Ruth's first step in solving anything is to bake a cake, and oh what cakes she bakes (recipes are included). As might be expected, the hidden talents of each family member emerge, surprising unions are forged, and relative success is achieved. And, yes, cakes are prominent in the solution. While it might be said that this is a predictable and undemanding book, it is also a comforting one, and perhaps signals a new genre that might be called "domestic fantasy." Danise HooverCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved