7 Charming Love Stories Set in Bakeries
Aimie K. Runyan, author of " A Bakery in Paris," recommends meet-cute romance novels to enjoy with a freshly baked pastry
Why is it that, in an era of convenience and online shopping, we still go out of our way to buy our croissants and cupcakes at the mom-and-pop bakery rather than the chain supermarkets? While the custom of buying bread from the baker, meat from the butcher, and cheese from the cheesemonger is an ingrained culture in France, even ultra-pragmatic Americans fall easily for the lure of a little bakery with a pink-striped awning and a window full of toothsome treats.
When I decided to write a novel about Paris, I knew instantly that it had to be set in a bakery. Not only for my own enjoyment—because what author doesn’t want to spend a year researching and writing about baked goods—but also because boulangeries were and always will be a centerpiece of French life and culture.
My book A Bakery in Paris follows two women in two different time periods in Montmartre who have to overcome hardship, grief, and adversity, while running their family business.
Bakeries are more than just shops in which to procure a baguette or a few macarons; they are a gathering space with friends, a place for a celebratory cake to mark a momentous occasion, an opportunity to escape for just a short while with a coffee and a bit of brioche. Here are seven charming books that explore bakery life and all its charms.
Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert
The undisputed queen of Wisconsin Foodie Lit, Amy Reichert crafts a magical tale about divorcée Astra Snow who falls in love with a baker at the annual Julemarked, the famed Milwaukee Christmas market. The problem? For Jack Clausen, it’s always December. And every month he is mysteriously transported to a new market. This one will have you reaching for the Cherry-Almond Kringle with a steaming cup of coffee.
Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
Jada is recovering from a very public humiliation on a dating show when she moves back to San Diego. Her new job at the Sugar Blitz isn’t going well thanks to the grumpy bakery owner Donovan (did we mention he’s also a football player?). A fortuitous mixup has the two enemies joining forces to deceive the world into thinking they’re a couple. Their fake relationship to promote the bakery and rehab Jada’s PR is going smoothly but is there more to their chemistry than just pretend?
The Baker’s Man by Jennifer Moorman
What would happen if you could actually bake the perfect man? Anna O’Brien inherits a bakery from her late grandmother, and some special gifts as well. With the secret golden sugar bequeathed to her, she creates Elijah. But will everything bake out to perfection? Best enjoyed with an extra-gingery gingerbread man and a cup of tea.
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Pastry maker Olivia knows it’s time for a change after a disaster that involves a flambéed dessert and a restaurant fire. While hiding out in rural Vermont at the blissful Sugar Maple Inn, she’s offered a job When a hot local returns to care for his elderly father, she has to decide if country life is really for her. Perfect with a slice of hot apple pie à la mode.
Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander
Accomplished pastry chef Simone has always wanted to work at a cookbook publisher. She thinks she has a handle on her career until the advent of video content forces her, unwillingly, into the spotlight with very spotty results. When her relentlessly cheery editor Ray comes out as non-binary at the office and is met with some unwelcoming reactions, Simone faces a tough choice between the job she loves and the person who has come to mean a great deal to her. Enjoyed (carefully) with a flaming dish of Cherries Jubilee.
The Little Beach Street Bakery series by Jenny Colgan
The Little Beach Street Bakery takes place in a quaint coastal English town in Cornwall. The bakery, over the course of the four-book series, goes from an abandoned shop to a thriving business where four heroines all find love and adventure. Colgan is a master of escapist writing with compelling heroines. A great series for binge reading. Best enjoyed with scones, jam, and clotted cream.
Amy loves her job at her bakery, not so much that it’s owned by conservative Christians who fire her once they realize she’s queer and kind of, not quite out of the closet. What’s a girl to do? She combines her baking experience, craft talent, and passion for Say Yes to the Dress into a side hustle: bridesmaid for hire. A touching tale of self-love and found family, perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue. Best enjoyed with a slice of delicate white wedding cake with pink rosettes.