Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013. 978-0062084248
Synopsis: Rosemary Bliss dreams of becoming a baker and helping out in her parent’s magical bakery, but it always seems like her family can’t be bothered with her. But when her parents are away and the mysterious Aunt Lily, comes to visit, Rosemary and her brothers decide to take matters into their own hands. But when the magical recipes start to turn the town upside down, they find that they will need a lot more than magic to help things go back to normal.
Why I picked it up: I was browsing for books in an airport bookstore (as I am wont to do) and this one caught my eye because it seemed like a cute story with a little bit of family drama, sibling rivalry, and baked goods.
Why I finished it: I hardly read a lot of what I will categorize as realistic fantasy, but Littlewood has crafted a funny and heartwarming story about finding one’s sense of self and the importance of trusting our family. I love that Rosemary’s character has a strong sense of what she wants to do and her great love for her family, despite the fact that she’s often at odds with her siblings (who are all named after herbs, a fact I found amusing). She struggles with what is right and what she wants to do versus what she wants to do. The rest of the characters are just as engaging and have personalities that add to the depth of the family dynamic. Littlewood’s setting is descriptive enough to set the stage for the story, but not specific enough that we can pin it to a given location, giving it a sort of generic feel that allows the reader to connect on their own level rather than trying to identify with a place unfamiliar to them. Overall, the story was well-written and well-paced, and I am excited to see what the next book (due out in early February) will bring.
Other related materials: A Dash of Magic: A Bliss Novel by Kathryn Littlewood; Remarkable by Elizabeth Foley; Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice; The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe books by Gordon McAlpine, illustrated by Sam Zuppardi Storybound by Marissa Burt; Story’s End by Marissa Burt; Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke; The Cold Cereal Saga books by Adam Rex; The Humming Room by Ellen Potter; The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards; The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer; Jinx by Sage Blackwood; Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans; The Hop by Sharelle Byars Moranville, illustrated by Niki Daly; The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis, illustrated by Torstein Norstrand and Mike Reagan; A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff