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The Icing on the Cupcake: A Novel Paperback – Apr 6 2010
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"Striking the perfect balance between tart wit and sweet romance, Ross spoons up a thoughtful blend of chick lit and women’s fiction, complete with a tempting assortment of cupcake recipes, the icing on this irresistible culinary literary creation."—Booklist
About the Author
Jennifer Ross is a former Wall Street Journal and Dallas Morning News reporter, and the co-founder of the movie production company Brick House. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, children, and her two Papillions, Navette and Ruby.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Ansley Waller is a Southern belle. Newly graduated, she has accomplished what she has been aiming for her entire life - she's engaged. With that goal achieved, she lets her hair down and relaxes the perfect girl facade she has created. Her fiance Parish finally sees what he suspected and dumps her. To escape that humiliation, Ansley heads to New York City to live with the grandmother she's never met.
Baking cupcakes has always been Ansley's way of coping. That coping skill takes her farther than she could have imagined in New York. Ansley's imaginative, innovative cupcake recipes are scattered throughout the book. (I didn't count-but there must be close to twenty) Cleverly titled, they include such offerings as Black Bottom Heartache, First Blush of Crush and many more.
Ross paints a clear picture of a nasty, unlikeable Ansley. It was appealing to watch her change and grow as the book progresses. There is an unexplained event that accounts for Vivian being absent from Ansley and her mother Hattie's lives. The truth is tantalizingly revealed - much of it through the family recipe book that has been handed down over generations.
The characters are engaging, but I never really felt connected to any of them. Ansley does grow and change. In the beginning, it all seems to be to prove something to everyone else, not for herself. The whole idea of moving was to 'save face' and "show those sons of bitches that you have something better in store", not to be a better person. Parish seems a decent person in the beginning, calling Ansley out for her behaviour, but accepting it from someone else later on.Read more ›
After Ansley was publicly dumped by her fiancé, she flees to New York to live with her grandmother who she has never met. She handles her heartache and disappointment by baking cupcakes and when her grandmother gives her an ultimatum to get a job or get out, she makes a bold move in an attempt to transform her life.
Ansley's transformation was interesting, especially as I didn't find her character likeable at first and this lead to a few times where I wasn't quite convinced of its believability. I was content in the end though. There were also a few moments I was unsure of how the grandmother was written and if she would have thought the things she did, in the way she did, but these were also fleeting. These were my only two concerns about this lovely story.
I thought the strained family relationships and the cupcake recipes sprinkled throughout brought a new dimension to the single girl starting over story line and loved the combination of baking and family history. The story of the grandmother kept me intrigued as did finding out if Ansley could make it all work.
Pick up this lovely book if you're looking for a light easy read with a great starting-over theme, not to mention want to bake some of the fabulous recipes - I haven't yet, but they sound scrumptious and their names are great: Black Bottom Heartache, Green with Envy Cupcakes, and my personal favourite I'm dying to try, S'more Cupcakes just to mention a few!
Ansley comes from a family who bakes when times are tough, so upon her arrival in New York, Ansley begins baking up a storm. While helping to correct some tax problems brought on by Vivian's late husband, and getting adjusted to a New York that is very different from Dallas, will Ansley be able to get a job and retain her dignity?
This was a cute coming-of-age story. The Ansley that we meet at the beginning of the book (over-confident and often mean) is very different from the Ansley that we are left with at the end. Throughout the book Ansley learns that being nasty does not necessarily pay, and that in fact it can have some dire consequences. The sub-plots throughout- Ansley's grandmother Vivian must come to terms with the fact that she abandoned her daughter at a young age, Vivian gets involved in a romance with an unlikely candidate- serve only to enhance the main story. I liked that the ending was not necessarily what I expected it to be. I'm not going to give it away here, but what I thought was going to happen was not what happened, which was a pleasant surprise.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. The book was to be passed from mother to the daughter who cooked the most. I f there were no daughteres than the granddaughters
2. Three people must agree a recipe is fit to be in the book, usually a grandmother, mother, and daughter were the voting parties. if the daughter was too young, the cook waited until she was old enough to vote. If there was no daughter, another female relative could be substituted.
3. Never let anyone borrow the book.
This I really liked as well as the cupcake recipes that sprinkle throughout the pages with names that fit with what was happening in the book.
The story line itself wasn't a great fit for me. While Ansley does eventually turn into a likable character, things happen in the book that are kind of odd and hard to follow. While she is mean in the opening of the book, she moves and is never mean again throughout the rest of the read. The ending left me with many questions. I don't want to go into great explanation as I have seen many people have really enjoyed this book. For me, the recipes made the book one I will turn to again. I wished I would have had time to whip up a batch of a couple that really caught my eye, but another time.
When Vivian insists that Ansley get a job or be sent back home with her tail between her legs, she decides to play to her strengths and open her own cupcake shop. Determined to prove she can make it on her own, Ansley, using recipes from a book that's been passed down for generations in their family discovers that it just may hold the key to the secrets of Vivian's past.
THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE is a charming story, thick with Texas charm and baking anecdotes. Ross does a beautiful job of developing her characters and creating suspense surrounding the mystery of how any mother could leave their five-year-old child. You'll root for Ansley as she struggles to figure out what to do with her life now that becoming a privileged housewife is not an option any longer and your mouth will water as she stress-bakes her way through her troubles. A lovely novel with a decadent recipe at the end of each chapter, I have a feeling you'll find THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE as sweet as I did.
Overall it disappointed. Did the story play out the way I expected? Yes and no- those things happened, but HOW they happened was where it lost me. Ansley makes a such a sudden character change it is a bit jarring. After a lifetime of cutting people down, being mean and making cruel comments if other women gained weight, two months later, after gaining 10lb (or so) post break-up, she is sitting in a restaurant, patting her belly, feeling "sexy". (This is not a comment on hating weight gain, or only loving yourself and others if you are super thin- just a comment on how unrealistic it seemed for HER character). Opening a business without telling anyone and doing it as quickly, easily, etc. also produced some eye rolls. This also applies to the reunion and resolution between the grandmother and the mother. A lifetime of emotional pain and abandonment is wrapped up quickly and as neatly as can be. Does reading chick lit require some suspension of disbelief? You bet, but if it is too much, it takes you out of the story.
Which takes me to the ending- Really? It felt like the author was going along in one direction, suffered a head injury and swapped the ending out at the last minute. Not only is it SO ridiculous and maddening, but it also feels like it just- ended. Unsatisfying.
The cupcake recipes and baking tips were awesome though! Looking forward to trying at least one!