The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe by Mary Simses

An engaged New York lawyer visits her grandmother’s hometown in Maine to deliver a letter to her grandmother’s high school sweetheart. But an unwise walk down a decrepit dock leads her to nearly drown, until a local handyman jumps in and saves her. Her sudden outburst of thankfulness with a kiss finds its way into the local paper, and Ellen tries to cover up her impulsivity, while uncovering her grandmother’s secret hobby and the life before she became Gran. After several other hilarious mishaps, Ellen unexpectedly finds the possibility of a new life, as well as a new taste for blueberries. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe is a hilarious look at the choices that drive our impulses, and a glance at a grandmother as a young woman.

The Recipe:

In her letter to Chet, Ruth told him that “I still think of you whenever I see blueberries.” Ellen’s Gran used to make blueberry muffins with “the tops just a little bit crunchy while the insides were perfectly moist.” She also sprinkled “the tops with cinnamon and sugar.” The Blueberry Cafe painting by Ruth Goddard won a first place in a contest.

Best Ever Blueberry Muffins with Buttery Cinnamon Sugar Crumble

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Ingredients

  • salted butter, at room temperature
  • granulated sugar
  • light brown sugar
  • large eggs
  • (vanilla bean whole milk) Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • unbleached all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • vanilla extract
  • fresh blueberries, stems removed
  • old-fashioned regular rolled oats
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg

Discussion Questions:

  1. Roy was convinced Ellen was just another big-city lawyer who’d made the world into a place where no one accepts responsibility for their own actions anymore. That it’s always somebody else’s fault, and that she was going to sue him. What misunderstanding led him to think this about her?
  2. In the upstairs room of Gran’s old home in Beacon, somebody had put drywall over the plaster on the walls. What did it uncover in the old house? Why might someone have covered up something so beautiful?

For more discussion questions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/The-Irresistible-Blueberry-Bakeshop-and-Cafe-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe.

Similar Recommended Readings:

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton is about a woman who grew up with an embarrassingly eccentric grandmother and her hippie friends. But death brings her back to a small town to learn about the woman she hardly knew and that woman’s long lost love.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is filled with old family secrets discovered by a young woman, along with scrumptious foods and comical, eccentric family members.

Ellen found a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on her grandmother’s nightstand, which is also a story about family history and family secrets.

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