Book Reviews

Book Review: The Golden Spoon

By Jessa Maxwell

Published March 2023

287 Pages

Betsy Martin is an icon in the baking industry.  Dubbed as “America’s Grandmother,” she created and has hosted Bake Week for ten years – a competition show that can make or break the career of six hopeful bakers.  The competition is hosted every year at Grafton, Betsy’s estate in the Vermont countryside.  The proceeds from the show are the only thing keeping Grafton afloat but this year, her producer’s have seen fit to pair her up with an obnoxious cohost.  On top of that, everything keeps going wrong.  From the uppity crew, to bakers being sabotaged, to contestants who didn’t reveal everything on their applications.  Already at her breaking point when a ferocious thunderstorm threatens the set, she stumbles across a body, proving that things can always get worse.

In an early review, this novel was described as a mix of The Great British Bake Off and Clue.  I thought, “Heck yes!” and promptly bought the kindle version.  While most synopsis, mine included, focus on Betsy Martin, the book is told through her point of view plus each of the six contestants.  Those characters are what makes this book shine.

The author obviously took pains to build each backstory and breathe life into her characters.  Each comes with their own hopes, dreams, and pain.  They all have a very different reason for entering the contest and not all of them care if they win.  One of them is there looking for clues to something that happened at Grafton decades ago, turning this book into a mystery within a mystery.  Each voice was unique and they all had their own quirky characteristics that played well with the overarching story.

“The Golden Spoon” interpreted by Wombo Dream

Unfortunately, the characters couldn’t save a plot that fell apart at the end.  I don’t want to give out any details or spoilers, but I will say that one antagonist blurts out everything in an angry rant.  So even though clues led me to kind of figure out what had happened in the old disappearance, the baddie made sure I got it without anyone else figuring it out.  On top of that, the author’s attempts at misdirection felt more like poorly done withholding.  There are a couple other details tossed in I was tempted to google because they just didn’t sound right and lastly, Melanie was a grossly underutilized character.  

Everything that irked me happened in the last 10-15% of the book so up until that point, I was really enjoying it.  Certainly not the first thriller/mystery that held my attention only to fall apart at the end.  So while I will probably give another shot at reading something else by this author, I do wish I had checked this one out of the library rather than buying it.

3.25/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐+

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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