I am extremely biased toward widow stories, but I actually picked this one up for a different reason: the cover. Is it not awesome? I didn't even realize this was a widow story until I read the first paragraph, which is (if you can believe it) even more awesome than the cover:
I knot Nick's camouflage apron under my boobs, unable to remember the last time I wore a bra, or preheated the oven. That's my widow style.
Yep. It was love at first read for me. I knew at that moment--before even finishing the first page--that I would finish this book.
Rose-Ellen (Zell) Roy has been a widow for nearly a year when we meet her. All we know of Nick, her late husband, at the start of the story is that he died while in New Orleans photographing relief work. We learn more and more about what happened on his trip, and eventually, how he died, as the story moves along. But that's not even really the main point, or, as Nick would say, "that's neither here nor there..."
(I caught myself using that phrase today. It grows on you.)
Zell decides to enter a baking contest where the grand prize is 20 thousand dollars, which just happens to be how much her dead husband had wanted to donate to the people of New Orleans for rebuilding. Problem is, she can't cook. At all.
Enter her 9 year-old next door neighbor, Ingrid Knox, who is convinced that Polly Pinch--host of the show Pinch of Love Live and the Desserts That Warm the Soul Baking Contest--is her mother. Aside from the prize money, the contest winner will be a guest on Polly Pinch's show. Ingrid sees this as the perfect chance to get her estranged mother back in her life. When Zell and Ingrid agree to team up and enter the contest together, things get very messy along the way. And delicious.
This is an adorable story that warms the heart. I ate it right up.