*Many thanks to Lucy, HQ Digital and Netgalley for my copy of this book*
Oh, how exciting it is to be writing up a review on Lucy’s second novel, The Ingredients of Happiness! It feels like just yesterday I was falling in love with these three wonderful sisters and Italy in Lucy’s debut, How to Bake a New Beginning.
The Ingredients of Happiness is a follow-up story from How to Bake a New Beginning, in which the three sisters are now currently all loved up with their insanely gorgeous boyfriends, whilst also making their dreams come true. Amanda is in the process of opening up her own cafe – in honour of their late Grandpa, Sabrina is working hard at signing her band San Francisco Beat with a new record label and Louisa is living a stunning lifestyle in the serenity of Italy, working in fashion.
It felt extremely comforting to be back reading the POV’s of each sister and what they were getting up to since I last read about them and as easily as last time, I fell in routine of bouncing back between Amanda, Sabrina and Louisa’s lives. This time around, the sisters started and finished with a much stronger connection, contrary to their rocky start in the first book, however, that didn’t stop barriers getting in the way of them when it came to keeping in touch consistently and not always having the opportunity to be there for one another, due to busy schedules. That all being said, it was lovely to see them get along constantly throughout, no bad blood, just pure happiness and support for one another.
Throughout the debut novel, all three sisters had dreams that were just that, dreams. This time round, they’re about to make their dreams come to life, with the help of one another, their boyfriends and their beloved family. Amanda’s cafe is coming together nicely, with the help of many new friends/colleagues and her rock-star best friend/boyfriend, things really couldn’t be anymore perfect for her. – until trust starts to get in their way. I loved getting to explore Amanda and Dan’s new relationship alongside them, they are so loved up and I personally would say, the most perfect couple of them all! They bounce off of one another so easily and it probably helps that they were best friends before getting involved romantically. Going from best friends to boyfriend/girlfriend has not in any way made their relationship awkward or strained, if anything, it has made the two of them stronger – it was meant to be all along and now they have both realised that, they just work so well together. I also really enjoyed Lucy’s descriptions of the cafe throughout the book from each sister’s perspective – it really sounds like the most glorious cafe that I would find myself pretty much living in if it was to exist. If the interior didn’t have me sold, then all of the delicious Italian recipes Amanda was whipping up would have me there in seconds.
Speaking of recipes, Lucy incorporated a recipe in to the beginning of each chapter, just like she did in her first book and it was heart-warming to see all those little quirky comments again about how their Grandpa used to make the food, instead of following a professionals step-by-step guide. It gave all of the recipes a really personal and homely touch to them.
Sabrina’s story was definitely my most favourite, as she had previously lived a glamorous lifestyle, but with the Wicked Witch as her manager, so this time around, to see her taking action by herself and making a name for herself, whilst also getting the boys a record label they’d all love – it was really a proud moment and she is definitely such an inspiring boss-lady, keeping all fan-girls happy, but she had the trouble of making sure to keep herself happy as well, pushing those who loved and cared for her away. Luckily she had her gorgeous rock-star boyfriend, Levi, by her side and what an admirable couple those two are. It took them years to be able to make a relationship work due to their careers and now that they have, they couldn’t be more smitten with one another. Their story by the end of the book had my heart extremely full and my eyes filling with tears. Their career’s being so entangled will always have it’s difficulties, but they are in no way going to let that or anybody interrupt their happiness and Levi is on a mission this time to make sure everybody knows that.
Louisa’s story was all kinds of inspirational this time around, after being in such a rut during the first book, it was lovely to see Louisa spread her wings and finally take that big leap to making her fashion dreams come true. With a very important event occurring, that could change her life forever, Louisa is in full on work mode – meaning that unfortunately, she was unable to be with her sisters during certain exciting times, causing her to worry that this was now going to be her life if she stayed in Italy – always missing special family moments. Not if Levi had anything to do with it though. Whilst feeling so far away from her sisters, Louisa couldn’t complain so much, as she had the delicious Luca by her side every day, treating her like an absolute Princess and holding her hand all the way. The turn of events at the end of the book for the three sisters, especially Louisa had me so excited for her and even more excited for a third book – I need to read about this magical moment between the three sisters asap!
To wrap up this extremely long (I’m not even sorry) review, I would just like to say that Lucy has smashed it once again with a delightful, charming and delicious sequel to her debut book. It’s impossible to not fall in love with every single character written on these pages and the romance’s you become entangled in will have you swooning from start to finish. This is the perfect light, feel-good Summer read, providing you also with scrumptious recipes to have a go at – I will definitely make it my mission to attempt at least one! While this book can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading the first of the series, How to Bake a New Beginning, as you can get a more in depth look in to the sisters and how they got to where they are now.
I just need to also thank Lucy for the lovely surprise in the book acknowledgements – I was in no way expecting my name to pop up and it had me feeling all kinds of joy! I’m so glad that I was able to help support Lucy’s writing process with the magic of Zachary Levi gifs and I’ll always be there, gifs at the ready, throughout future projects!
Read my review on Lucy’s debut, How to Bake a New Beginning here.
Read my interview with Lucy on her debut, How to Bake a New Beginning here.