cover image Mrs. Quinn’s Rise to Fame

Mrs. Quinn’s Rise to Fame

Olivia Ford. Viking/Dorman, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-65641-9

Reality TV producer Ford debuts with the charming story of a British home baker’s turn in the spotlight. Jennifer Quinn, 77, has lived a quiet life with her sweet, supportive husband Bernard, to whom she’s been married for nearly 60 years. Though she feels she should be content, Jenny longs for something more. So, without telling Bernard, she applies to be a contestant on the popular competition show Britain Bakes. Her sneaking stirs memories of a long-held secret: before she met Bernard, she gave a baby up for adoption, and she’s always been convinced that telling him would ruin their marriage. To her surprise, Jenny’s chosen for the show. When she shares the news with Bernard, he’s shocked but thrilled for her. Jenny decides to bake treats for the show based on memories of pastries she ate at crucial points in her past. She makes it to the finals and enjoys some fame as the show begins airing, but Ford’s smoothly told narrative builds to a crisis point when one of Jenny’s Facebook posts is unearthed by the media. Fans of cooking competitions will find this feel-good story delectable. (Jan.)