Wednesday, June 15, 2016

[Pat's Review]: "Rosalia's Bittersweet Pastry Shop"

Rosalia's Bittersweet Pastry Shop by Rosanna Chiofalo
Publisher: Kensington (May 31, 2016)
Genre: Contemporary/Women's Fiction

In Rosanna Chiofalo’s touching novel, a unique pastry shop features mouthwatering creations that have the power to change one woman’s life…

Food writer Claudia Lombardo has sampled exquisite dishes by the world’s greatest chefs. But when she hears about the remarkable desserts that are created in a pastry shop operated out of a convent in the sleepy Italian hillside town of Santa Lucia del Mela, she wants to write a book featuring the sweets and the story behind their creator—Sorella Agata. But the convent’s most famous dessert—a cassata cake—is what really intrigues Claudia.

Everyone who samples the cake agrees it is like none other they’ve tasted. Yet no one can figure out what makes the cassata so incredibly delicious. Though Sorella Agata insists there is no secret ingredient, Claudia is determined to learn the truth behind the mysterious cake. As she samples each delectable treat—marzipan fruit, rich cream puffs, and decadent cakes—Sorella Agata relates the pastry shop’s history and tells of the young woman, Rosalia, who inspired her.

Kidnapped and separated from her family, Rosalia is subjected to a terrible ordeal—until the nuns find her. As she heals, she learns the art of pastry making, and soon she even finds love with Antonio—an apprentice in the pastry shop. But her heart still aches for the family she lost. And Rosalia knows she will not be whole again until she is reunited with them.

As Claudia unravels the secret of the cassata cake, she discovers a deeper, fascinating story—one that affirms food can do more than nourish the body…it can stir memories, heal the deepest heartaches, and even act as a bridge to those we love, no matter how far apart.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Chiofalo's Previous Novels:

Stella Mia -- Pat

Pat's Review:

This lovely novel centers around a young woman faced with countless losses and attacks on her faith, her heart and everything she believes in. It's set in a little town in Sicily know for it's amazing delicacies made by the Carmelite sisters in the convent in town. Their reputation is known far and wide.

A girl is found near death, abused and unconscious by the Mother Superior, Madre Carmela and a few sisters harvesting almonds for their pastries. They rush her to the convent and provide nourishment, clothes and the quiet peace of their lives. She recovers slowly from her injuries, but her heart is broken, and she remembers little of her previous life. She does know her name is Rosalia.
The beginning of the story  is set in 1955, and is told beautifully to a visiting journalist from the U.S. In 2004. Claudia Lombardo is writing about chefs, cooking, and food and has traveled to Sicily to learn more about the pastries known for their tantalizing taste. She has an appointment at the convent with the present Mother Superior, Sorrelle Agata, to learn of their secret.

This interview takes you on the  journey of Rosalia, and the intricacy and skill of pastry baking with even a little magic thrown in. Love, loss, faith and family have a strong message running through the words. Ms. Chiofalo writes heartwarming  novels about Italy, New York and characters who will charm you. The covers alone always draw me in. Best of all, recipe's of the tantalizing pasties are included.


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Pat received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Always nice to have a review for something a little bit outside the romance genre. Thanks, Pat! :)


Until Next Time,


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