Love is What You Bake of It – Effie Kammenou

“Kally wiped her hands on her own signature apron. She had a collection of them. Egypt could usually read Kally’s mood from what was written across her chest. Today, she had on an ivory apron with black ruffles. A pink cupcake dripping with frosting hovered above the words, ‘Sometimes you just need to eat a cupcake with icing and get over it!’”

Love is What You Bake of It is a romantic book about Kally. Kally Andarakis’ parents are Greek, and she owns a cafe, The Coffee Klatch. Reading about the cafe made my mouth water, especially when Kally is making a batch of baklava. (My book Sapphire Beach will tell you how much I love baklava…that is one of the reasons for placing Sapphire Beach in Crete!) I love Greek food, and there are many references to traditional Greek dishes. The best thing about this? There are lots of recipes sprinkled throughout the book!

Effie Kammenou, the author, is a first-generation Greek-American, living in Long Island where the book is based. I enjoyed the descriptions of the place as well as the people, especially the Greek community. I loved reading more about Greek feasts and customs. Effie has done a wonderful job in really giving the book a Greek flavour, through the language, people and food. I had to ask the internet how to pronounce the Greek word for granny, but I loved seeing the word every time. My parents are opa and oma, and I love hearing my kids say it. So to read about Kally’s yiayiá was lovely.

Love is What You Bake of It is a romance, but it wasn’t as straightforward as I expected! I had an idea that it would end the way I could see it going (Sorry, trying to avoid spoilers here!), but quite a few times through the book I had my doubts! Max Vardaxis doesn’t entirely make a good impression the first time he walks into Kally’s cafe, and things get very tight a few times. Not only that, but after a heart-breaking and shocking tragedy with another man eight years earlier, Kally is not keen to trust another man.

I loved little Athena, again, another interesting side to the book!

The part I really enjoyed is when Kally is trying to trace her grandfather who mysteriously disappeared many years ago. I’m hoping we will read more about that in the next book, Love by Design. It was such an interesting sideline to the story, and yet it was a huge part behind decisions made, that it was only natural for Kally to look for him when the opportunity arose.

There are some wonderful characters in this book. I particularly liked Egypt, Kally’s friend who works in the cafe with her. Egypt is a real character, and I really hope to read more about her too. Then there are Kally’s parents who are always squabbling, but who love each other dearly, and again, stunning revelations were made about them. I loved Kally’s granny; what a character full of life and fun! Kally came from quite a large, lively family, and I felt the author tried to portray a busy, noisy, energetic Greek family. Effie Kammenou has done a great job with that, and the way people are woven into the story makes you feel part of it all. The book really held my attention because of the various characters and their stories, even though romance isn’t my genre.

I will just have to try some of those recipes, especially the Greek ones. Effie has a food blog, so do follow her on for more food ideas!

The book is a romance, so has quite a few bedroom scenes. I received a review copy but was under no obligation or pressure to write a favourable review. These views are my own.

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