The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, by Susan Bishop Crispell

Place:  Nowhere, North Carolina

28220957.jpgPeople:  Rachel Monroe–a young woman with a secret she’s trying to hide (or run away from). Catch–an old woman with a gift of her own who takes Rachel into her home and under her wing. Ashe–Catch’s neighbor and friend.

Plot:  Rachel has a very unusual ability–she can make wishes come true. The trouble is, they don’t always turn out the way she (or the wisher) expects. For years, she has tried to suppress her ability; now, after accidentally granting a wish for her best friend’s little girl, she simply wants to run away from it. Rachel hits the road without saying goodbye, only to run out of gas in the small town of Nowhere, North Carolina. Once she’s there, a new friend (Catch) makes Rachel wonder if her gift can be a blessing instead of a curse. As Rachel gets to know Catch, Ashe, and the rest of the small southern town, she must own up to the truth about herself, her abilities, and what she wishes for her own future.

Pacing:  Relaxed, but purposeful

Predictability:  n/a

Perspective:  I happened to find this book at a library book sale. After reading the description on the book jacket, I scooped it up. Magical realism is a favorite genre of mine–and who doesn’t like pie?! When I picked it out of my to-read pile, it was the seventh book I had started that day. I was disappointed and discouraged because I couldn’t find anything that grabbed my attention and kept me interested enough to read. But The Secret Ingredient of Wishes was just what I needed. Sweet and heartfelt, with a touch of sultry and sass, the story had me hooked from the first chapter. Can’t wait to read more from this author!

About the Book
26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

About the Author
Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (2016) and Dreaming in Chocolate, which releases on Feb. 6, 2018. As you might expect, she is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world.

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