Missing the right ingredients for a life of joy, a young baker learns lessons in the true recipe for love.
Ann’s hectic work responsibilities demand all her time and effort, and what was once a useful, satisfactory life has become a burden. Her bakery partner Susan has lost none of her enthusiasm for their business, and Ann can’t understand her exuberance, or her friend’s Christian faith. So she trudges along, hiding her dissatisfaction from Susan, resigned to a life of work, sleep and problems.
Unexpected comments offered by two different people cause a crack in Ann’s armor and her thoughts careen into unexpected directions. Attention from a young widower with a son challenges Ann’s resolve to stay safe and uninvolved. Susan’s example of faith through trial furthers Ann’s curiosity about God. Ann must choose to step toward the unfamiliar freedom of giving and receiving love, or stay in the shadows, stuck in the grip of past hurt and long-standing barriers.
Here are some endorsements for my debut novel, The Right Ingredients:
From Dvora Waysman:
“The Right Ingredients” is appropriately named. Nancy Bolton has cooked up something very satisfying … a realistic look at life behind the scenes in a cake shop; a romance that has its ups and downs as in real life; three dimensional characters and family situations; and a spiritual awakening that is very moving. This is a novel you’ll be sorry when it ends as you’ll grow to love Ann and her experiences.”
Dvora Waysman Author of 13 books including “The Pomegranate Pendant” now a movie titled “The Golden Pomegranate.”
From Lena Nelson Dooley:
This debut novel reminds me of the early Mitford novels. A slice of life story with a gentler feeling to it. Some interesting plot twists surprised me, and I fell in love with the characters.
–Lena Nelson Dooley, multi-award winning author of the McKenna’s Daughters series–Maggie’s Journey, Mary’s Blessing, and Catherine’s Pursuit
From Carlene Havel:
“The Right Ingredients” is an engaging book with realistic characters. Author Nancy Bolton manages to weave themes of divine, romantic, and family love into a cohesive plot, as the redemptive power of love transforms Ann from a timid wall flower into a mature, confident woman. Grab a tissue to dab at some happy tears while you immerse yourself in this tender love story.
Author, “A Hero’s Homecoming” and other love stories
From Diane Dean White:
I had the pleasure of previewing “The Right Ingredients” by Nancy Shew Bolton.
I wasn’t disappointed. Her story weaves a dream two college friends bring to
fruition. Along the way they experience, faith, confidence, trust and love. A plus
are the luscious goodies they make, that will bring a smile to your face and a dash
to your favorite bakery!
Diane Dean White – author of Carolina in the Morning,
On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing and Texting Mr. Right.
My reviews are up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Goodreads. They are almost all 5 star, with a few enthusiastic 4 star reviews, and only two readers who appeared to want something different. Can’t please everyone! Now, here are some comments from various reviewers:
This delightful Christian romance delivers a smile, a few tears, and page after page of warmth and compassion.
Want to feel good? Read this book!
This is a delightful read.
This beautiful story touches the heart and soul. Don’t miss it!
‘The Right Ingredients’ is a charming romance novel with honest characters and a realistic plot line.
Lots of depth here—this isn’t just your typical boy-meets-girl romance. There is plenty to think about spiritually as well as emotionally. Nancy Shew Bolton has cooked up a fine, believable world and given us plenty of sweet treats along the way!
A very well written take about trusting God and what happens when you finally feel you can.
This is a wonderful book. I loved the read. We need more books and characters like this.
Each page was like a tasty bite. I wanted more.
Here’s an excerpt from the first scene:
Ann hoped the bakery stayed empty of customers. She needed every bit of concentration to decorate the cake the way she envisioned it. Her eyes scrutinized the last patch of undecorated surface. Almost done. Shifting on the chair, elbows planted on the low icing table, she pressed her lips together and leaned closer. She calculated the perfect angle to hold the frosting bag.
A stray hair drifted into her line of vision and she blew out a quick upward breath to deflect it. How on earth could any strand escape her coiled braid? She should have worn the hairnet. But hairnets were old-womanish. Still, she preferred them to the flimsy paper hats she and Susan wore the first year they opened the bakery. They never fit well, and exasperated her by sailing off her head when she rushed past the ceiling fans.
The bell on the bakery’s front door tinkled. Ann sighed and wished Susan would return from deliveries. She glanced through the archway and out the picture window. Maybe she’d appear. No such luck. Oh, well.
“Be right there,” she called. Ann set down the icing bag, rose from the chair and angled her hips to slip past the table. As she stepped sideways, two bees zoomed in and flew toward her. She
startled, brushed both hands to scare them away and lost her balance.
In helpless shock, her stomach fell as her forearms, palms and chin landed on the cake and sunk in while a groan escaped her. Ann lifted her head and stared in total horror. Loud moans erupted. “No, no, no.”
As though a protest would change anything. Tears gathered. She drew away from the cake, and straightened up. One little wobble, and her handiwork was destroyed.
“Are you okay?”
Ann stared at a tall, sturdy man in jeans and a tee shirt. He stood in the archway between the front and back rooms and surveyed the scene. “I’d have stayed out there, but I heard you cry out and thought I’d better check on you.”
Ann’s lip trembled. She pushed against the tide of emotion. No tears in front of customers. The two bees danced on the frosting, poking around on her ruined cake. “It’s all their fault. I tried to do everything right, and see what happened?”
She pointed a frosted finger at them while her tears overflowed. Through the blur, she glanced from the excited insects over to the man. She blinked to clear her vision. His eyes were sympathetic, and his mouth wore a suppressed grin. He stood in a firm stance, yet appeared poised to offer assistance. Ann searched for a clean part of her arm and brought it up to first brush the tears, then the frosting beard off her chin. She must look like some sort of clown.
The merriment left his face. “I’m sorry. I think maybe they flew in when I opened the door. Can I help?”
“That’s kind.” Ann attempted a smile. “But I don’t think you can fix this cake. And please don’t feel bad about the bees. They love to break in here with all this sugar.”
She strode to the sink and turned on the water to wash off the pastel colored mess. “I’ll be out front in a moment.”
Ann finished her clean-up, wiped off her chin, hands and arms, and dabbed the towel on her eyes. She tied on a clean apron, straightened her shoulders and stepped to the front room of the bakery.
“Well, you look better.” He laughed. “I’m sorry, but that was pretty funny.”
Ann imagined her ridiculous appearance before she cleaned up and couldn’t help joining him. When their laughter subsided, he asked, “Feeling better?”
“Thank you, yes.” She needed a laugh.
“I’m glad. Must’ve been frustrating.” His obvious sympathy unlocked her natural reserve.
“I’ve decorated it for almost an hour, and now I’ve got to start the whole thing over from scratch. My business partner isn’t back from deliveries and I have more cakes to make.” She didn’t like to complain.
Take a breath. She shrugged. “Anyway.”
He grinned. “You seem pretty young to run a bakery.”
“I don’t feel young today.” She grimaced and shook her head. “I guess it’s technically not a bakery, either. We only make cakes and cookies. Susan and I work here together, four years now, since college.” She blew out a breath. “Gets pretty crazy sometimes. Who knew the organic cake business would be so popular?”
He chuckled. “I’m not surprised, after all the raves I’ve heard. You know, I’ve had days like yours.” He stretched out his hand. “My name’s Tom Tillman. Sure hope your afternoon gets better.”
She clasped his offered hand and gave it a shake. “Ann Shaw. Around here most days are hectic, though I don’t usually fall on the cakes. I want to thank you for offering to help.”
“Wish I could have. I’m a capable farmer, handy with the livestock, but no good at cake fixing. Or baking, which is why I’m here.” He spread his hands out towards the display case.
“Hey, how ironic. A farmer with the last name Tillman. Till-man. Do you get teased?”
“Sure. Especially back in college. They loved to goof on me and make up nicknames. They also told me I had no choice in professions because of it.”
They shared a laugh.
“So, that’s why you’re a farmer?”
Tom shook his head. “No, I’d be one even if my name was…Ann Shaw.”
Ann’s cheeks grew warm at the way his tone dropped. She’d never connected to a customer so fast. He was easy to talk to.
Ready to read my book? Here are the purchase links, and please leave a review and let me know what you think!
Amazon: To buy on Amazon
Barnes and Noble: To buy on Barnes and Noble
Smashwords: To Buy on Smashwords
Prism Book Group: Prism Book Group
Here are my social links if you’d like to leave me a comment: