Rated Reads

Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman’s Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker

by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Rated: Moderate

There is a need, especially nearing summertime, for my reading to become lighter, less dense, more meringue and less brownie. The books still need to be interesting, but not weigh me down with complexities or trials. And this one, most assuredly, fits that bill.

One part memoir of a childhood, one part food-lover’s delight (including recipes!), one part Hollywood insider (sans names, except for older sister Sandra, affectionately called Sandy in the book), this book follows Gesine (pronounced Geh-see-neh) Bullock-Prado’s path from high-powered Hollywood executive to the owner of Gesine’s Confections in Montpelier, Vermont. It’s not a comfortable journey; baking increasingly becomes self-described social misanthrope Gesine’s obsession before she leaves Hollywood, and the store has some fits and starts before becoming a smoothly operating business. The book isn’t exactly even either: told in hour increments mirroring the arc of Gesine’s day, it’s often uneven, sometimes telling the same stories more than once, and the lack of chronology in the stories is often quite jarring.

But, given that, Gesine’s a likable person and, Hollywood gossip aside, it’s an interesting story. She grew up in Germany, and her descriptions of food and customs and traditions made me long to visit there again. I’ll have to try every single recipe (well, not the carrot cake) in the book. It was comforting to read about someone who adores baking, someone who finds satisfaction in creating something delicious to eat. It’s not the best-written book ever, but Gesine is often funny, sometimes sentimental, and occasionally wandering, so you can’t help but love her and want to sit down with her, eat something delicious and chat a while.

Which, I’d like to think, is what she wanted you to think when she wrote this book.

Rated: Mo, for some instances of mild language, as well as three uses of strong language (although for some odd reason, one has the “u” asterisked out).

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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Clean Book Review of Confections of a Closet Master Baker
  • Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman’s Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker
  • by Gesine Bullock-Prado
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: