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Cooking the Books: Review of Well Read Cookies by Lauren Chater

November 6, 2018

You can imagine how excited we were to hear that Lauren Chater’s latest book, Well Read Cookies, is an ode to two of life’s greatest joys – literature and food.

Lauren, who wrote the bestselling The Lace Weaver, has taken a detour from historical fiction to create a whimsical, fun-loving book that celebrates beloved works of literature in the shape of beautiful, intricately iced biscuits – and proves to be as talented a baker as she is writer. Combining her love of books and baking, Lauren’s Well Read Cookies takes us on a fascinating journey from childhood to adulthood, celebrating the great books she read along the way from The Brothers Grimm to Jane Austen.

At a glance, this book appears to be a dessert cookbook, but it is so much more. Whilst containing some great cookie recipes and invaluable technical advice for decorating, at its core the book is a celebration of the wonder, magic, and whimsy of storytelling. Lauren has carefully curated not only a list of books that have most influenced her over the years, but has also skilfully translated each novel’s magic into delicate and stunning cookie designs that are a visual delight. There are delicate snowflakes, mystical dragons, adorable animals, and intricate flowers, all showcasing Lauren’s immense talent and leaving you hankering for a cuppa and some biccies.

Reading this book is like revisiting your childhood, being transported back to a time where your imagination knew no bounds, where anything was possible, and where books were portals to other worlds, scary and exciting and unknown. There’s a joy in realising that even as an adult, books still carry the same wonder, the same promise of escape.

Lauren reminds us that we are forever indebted to the books we read – that they have the power to change us and challenge us, that they are ingrained in who we become: ‘I owe a great deal to all the books I’ve read that have touched me in some way, and this book pays homage to the best of them.’

The Sydney based author and mother of two, points out the parallels between literature and baking: ‘Baking and writing are not so different. Both require liberal amounts of imagination, a dash of hope and a sprinkle of magic.’ This endearing tone of enchantment continues, as Lauren details the novels and stories that have touched her over the years, and the cookie designs that they inspired.

You really can’t help but fall in love with Lauren’s child-like wonder and you turn the final page of the book feeling completely energised and inspired, like you can do absolutely anything – even create a 3D Jane Austen-inspired sugar cookie house (yes, she is really that talented).

If you love the idea of filling your kitchen with the buttery smell of fresh baked biscuits and reading about great books, then Well Read Cookies is the perfect treat either for you, or as a gorgeous gift for a friend. My only regret is that the delicious mouth-watering images in the book are not edible (I wish).

About the Author:

Lauren Chater writes historical fiction with a particular focus on women’s stories. After working in the media sector for many years, she turned her passion for reading and research into a professional pursuit. In 2014, she was the successful recipient of the Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction scholarship. In addition to writing fiction, she established The Well Read Cookie, a blog which celebrates her love of baking and literature. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. The Lace Weaver is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Gulliver’s Wife.

Purchase a copy of Well read Cookies here 


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