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The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

The Art of Baking Blind

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

With most of us besotted by The Great British Bake Off this lovely book comes to further nurture our appetite. It is indeed about baking, but its heart is about relationships, about being wives and mothers. It’s a dual-time telling of the life of the Queen of Baking in the 60s and the lives of the five amateur bakers competing for her crown today. It is a nice device to illustrate diverse lives and the reasons behind the contestants’ desires to win the title. A good slice of social history and the contrast of the periods are produced alongside a lot of emotional trauma; a great title for reading groups.

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

From the very first page of The Art of Baking Blind I just knew I had to publish it. I was gripped by the characters and the way their stories play out, by the novel’s unflinching emotional honesty, by what Sarah Vaughan has to say about women and what is important to us – today and in Mrs Eaden’s time – and by the warmth, compassion and inventiveness of the writing. This is a genuinely democratic story, sophisticated and yet also accessible, that appeals right across the generations - whoever we are, whatever baking means to us and however we live our lives. It’s a book to pass on to your friends, to your mother, to your sister and to your daughter – the equivalent of the most delicious lemon sponge you have ever tasted: rich yet more-ish - and with just the right amount of bite...' - Kate Parkin, Editor, Hodder & Stoughton

If you like Sarah Vaughan you might also like to read books by Mhairi McFarlane, Jenny Colgan and Fern Britton.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Isobel Finbow - 'Good enough to eat…... Dip into the book and indulge. Well crafted and in manageable chunks to have a piece at a time or gobble it all up in one helping!'
  • Julie Collins - 'A delicious slice of escapism, Vaughan's book will appeal to fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Dillon. From five bakers with nothing else in common, there can be only one winner.'
  • Wendy Stubbs - 'Great British Bake Off Fans, such as myself, will love this book. A great read from start to finish. The first of Sarah Vaughan's books for me and certainly not the last. Highly recommended, 5 stars.'
  • Emily Wright - 'Like a sumptuous dark chocolate brownie, ‘The Art of Baking Blind’ is addictively moreish, with bittersweet undertones and a delightfully soft heart.'
  • Catherine Jenkins - 'A bittersweet cornucopia of lives, loves and lip-smackingly lovely bakes, this novel is a lot deeper than it may at first appear and has lots of ingredients to surprise packed in at the end.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'This is a beautifully written book full of charm and elegance like the character Kathleen. Add this to your summer reading list!' 
  • Sarah Harper - 'Think Great British Bake Off meets Julie & Julia. This is a book to savour and enjoy. I absolutely adored it!'
  • Tina - 'As the characters got further into the stages of the competition, it made me want to try out all the recipes too!'
  • Hannah Ward - 'I got particularly hungry reading about all the cake, bread, pies and pastry making and I had to go and find a biscuit. I love baking so I really found this book enjoyable.'
  • Tracey Copeland - 'I was sad when the book came to an end, as well as a good story was the underlying cookery recipes, making the reader feel hungry and also eager to bake.'
  • Kath Martin - 'Sarah Vaughan has certainly found the recipe for success and gets my vote as a star baker (author).'
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'A lovely 'summer read' light-page-turning reading, backed up the by excellent writing of Sarah Vaughan.'
  • Jane Brown - 'This is Maeve Binchy, The Great British Bake Off, a touch of Delia and an ounce of Mary Berry. Lovely book with differing characters all trying for the coveted prize.'
  • Berwyn Peet - 'Good story for baking enthusiasts - possibly not for those on a diet!'
  • Doreen McKeown - 'Women who love baking will adore this book - I enjoyed it, but wouldn't describe it as memorable.'

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The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her facade shouldn't slip. As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life.


Attention fans of GBBO! If you can drag yourself away from the doughy goings-on in the famous tent, you're sure to love this story * New * A novel to devour. * Maxi magazine, France * Before I knew anything about the contents of this novel I had already fallen in love . . . It begs to be oohed and aahed over, not to mention to be stroked. A lot. And once I started reading, I discovered that the story within was equally beautiful and enthralling . . . A delicious read which I devoured like a freshly baked, homemade bread . . . The lush descriptions of the food made them so vivid that I could almost taste them on the tip of my tongue . . . [and] for all the sweetness of the sugary decadences . . . there is also plenty of drama and intrigue to balance it all out. * novelicious * An extremely enjoyable book with strong characters and intriguing story lines. I loved every minute of it. * Bookbag * The Art of Baking Blind is gorgeous. Not just to look at and touch, but Sarah's writing is beautiful. She pulls you in, she captivates you and you just don't want to leave.

Her writing creates such warmth; it really hugs you tightly.

She describes the cakes and bakes exquisitely . . . Mouth-watering. * novelicious * 5 out of 5. An amazing read. It makes you crave cake and it makes you want to devour the words, enjoying every morsel till it reaches the . . . tear-jerking . . . end. * Random Redheaded Ramblings blog * Sarah Vaughan's debut novel is a delicious treat . . . There's plenty of baking and food talk for foodies but it's contained within a wonderful narrative. Sarah Vaughan has perfectly balanced the ingredients of this book . . . Where the baking lends a warm and pleasant tone, this is brilliantly offset by the darker side of the narratives. Each of the stories is compelling. * We Love This Book blog * Kathleen's heartbreaking story is so vivid, I had to check she wasn't a real person. It's a challenge to manage a story with five protagonists, particularly in a debut, but Sarah Vaughan manages it with aplomb. One to add to your holiday reading pile and indulge in. * The Writes of Women blog * Vaughan's engaging writing is packed with brilliant baking tips not to mention delectable descriptions of the food the contestants create. Enjoy. * WI Magazine * Fabulous * Good Housekeeping * Warm, wise and inspiring, an utterly delicious novel -- Polly Williams, bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy Pick up this tale of five enthusiasts competing to be the new Mrs Eaden - a renowned baker (think an oh-so-glam '60s version of Mary Berry) * Fabulous Magazine * Heavenly * Candis * Delicious . . . friendship, rivalry and exposed secrets, gorgeously told * Elle *

About the Author

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. After eleven years at the Guardian working as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent, she started freelancing. THE ART OF BAKING BLIND is her first novel and she is now working on her second. Sarah lives near Cambridge with her husband and two small children.

Author Photo © Nikki Wilkinson

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2014


Sarah Vaughan

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Hodder & Stoughton Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


416 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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