Nov 29, 2012

Review: The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister (TLC Book Tours)

This much anticipated follow-up to Bauermeister's THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS takes the reader back to Lillian's restaurant, but not for more cooking lessons. Lillian's is once again used as the cozy backdrop for the story but in a more subtle way. You still get the loving feel of the ingredients that go into the dishes she serves there, but a few characters from the first book are the obvious stars, along with some new faces who help tell their life stories.

The story picks up several months after the first book ends while the cooking classes are in between sessions. Lillian is, of course, front and center and we learn how her life has changed in those months. Others from the cooking class that are big parts of the story are Chloe, the insecure, former busser that Lillian hired; Isabelle, the older woman who is struggling to hold on to her precious memories; and Tom, the widower who lost his chef wife way too young to breast cancer. We add to them, the story of Al, Lillian's accountant who has made Lillian's an important part of his daily life; his wife, Louise, who has never been to the restaurant, nor ever met Lillian; Finnigan, the very tall, perceptively quiet dish washer who seems to know more than his nineteen years should allow; and we also meet Isabelle's son, daughter and grandson.  Each of these additional characters create more layers to an already developing storyline that, like each course of a fine dining experience, is like a memorable, delicious treat.

My Thoughts:

I can honestly say I didn't have any idea where this second book was going to lead. With so many interesting characters in the first book, there were many options for the author to take. I had really taken a liking to Chloe and even had a protective feeling over her, so I was really happy that she was a center point in this book. It was nice to see how she was becoming more sure of herself and I especially enjoyed her relationship with Isabelle. The character of Al was a complete surprise and.  I initially found him to be a bit odd. His relationship with his wife, Louise, was also a bit strange yet later in the story, I felt bad for her for being left out of so much of Al's life. It certainly proves a point I, myself, learned in my own marriage: That you can live with the person you are supposed to be the closest to in life, but much later down the road find that not only does that person not know the real you, but you begin questioning everything you thought you knew about them. Its a harsh reality that some can overcome but many cannot. I'd have to say, however that the new character of Finnigan was my favorite. He is wise for his age, kinder than most, and has such a subtle way with people and that really struck a chord with me. I like the possibility of he and Chloe making a go of it. (It's OK, I really didn't give anything away there!)

To wrap this up, I'll simply say this book was the perfect sequel that also leaves so many more possibilities for future releases.  Not surprisingly, the prose was lovely and had the same warm ebb and flow as we've come to expect from this talented writer. Erica Bauermweister, with the help of Lillian, had me yearning to be in a kitchen, laying out fresh goods and produce just collected from the farmer's market, and planning what herbs and spices to add to make delcious treasures to serve people I care about. That is how chefs and people who love to cook feel about food and this book brings all that out while at the same time telling the character's stories beautifully. If you couldn't tell already, I really enjoyed this book and I will always look forward to what is next from this author

There are many stops on this blog tour and you can find the entire list here. Be sure to visit these other blogs for more insights and opinions to this nove..  Special thanks to Lisa @ TLC Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour.

Author: Erica Bauermeister
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Scheduled Publishing Date: January 24, 2013
Pages: 228
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


  1. I can't wait to read this! I love Bauermeister's writing!

  2. It was a great follow-up to the first book.

    Readers look away if you don't want any spoilers but...

    I loved that the baby story line didn't take over the entire book.

  3. Loved your thoughts on this one. I found Al and Louise to be a hard couple to understand and to even like!!

  4. I loved The School of Essential Ingredients - can't wait to read this one, too!

  5. I adored School of Essential Ingredients. I was surprised at the difference with Lost Art of Mixing. With the Essential Ingredients, it was the food and aromas and flavors. Here, the characters were central, and the memories of the past blending with the future. Bauermeister's writing is so lyrical and beautiful. I have loved everything I've read.

    2 Kids and Tired Books

  6. It MUST be good if you're calling it the perfect sequel! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  7. Finnegan was my favorite character this time around, too!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I look forward to hearing from you again soon!