How to Bake a Perfect Life, the third book by Barbara OíNeal, is definitely a treasure. Ramona Gallagher is struggling to build her own business away from that of her family's restaurant corporation, but when tragedy strikes and love is found, Ramona learns to deal with the past and move ahead to a glorious future.
got pregnant at fifteen and was shipped off by her mother - who was also pregnant at a young age
- to her auntís house in Colorado (the setting for all three of OíNealís books). While staying the summer
and waiting to give birth, Ramona meets Jonah, who works at the local record store. They meet at trying times in
both their lives: Jonah, who plays guitar, recently lost three fingers, and Ramona
is in her vulnerable state. They both find healing magic in the other, but Jonah decides to leave town in part because he is too old for Ramona, and the love they find themselves is undeniable.
Fast-forward twenty-five years. Ramona is running her own bakery, struggling to pay the bills and keep up with all the repairs necessary for the house her grandmother left to her. Added to the mix,
Ramona's pregnant daughter, Sofia, finds out that her husband has been critically injured in Iraq. Sofia leaves her angry stepdaughter with Ramona while she travels halfway around the world to be with her husband while eight months pregnant.
Added to the stress of her crumbling bakery, being a grandmother and raising a budding teenager whose mother was on crack is a humble neighbor
who has just moved in down the block - and who just happens to have only two fingers on his left hand. Could it be Jonah,
the boy Ramona never forgot? Oh, and donít forget Merlin the dog, who shows up just when Katie needs him most.
Over the course of this delicious story, Sofiaís stepdaughter, Katie, finds a family of her own above the bakery, Ramona deals with her chaotic family
- somewhat - and finds the most incredible love for the second time.
How to Bake a Perfect Life is rich with heartfelt emotions, laughter, and joy. I enjoyed immensely having been a part of the Gallagher clan.