The Secret Ingredient of Wishes - Susan Bishop Crispell

26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown―and her past―behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina―also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love―and her chance at happiness―all over again.


I thought this was a lovely story with a beautifully drawn world of magical realism.


There were a lot of elements to this story that were just so much fun. Rachel tries to leave Nowhere once and ends up driving in circles which I thought was absolutely adorable and hilarious. I loved that she was obviously a good hearted person and that she had a friend who came and visited her.


The guilt that Rachel has carried around was really touching, and though not everyone has the ability to make their brother disappear, I found that I could draw a lot of real world parallels and really see how she needed to forgive herself.


I was initially pretty dubious about how believable Rachel's ability would be, but it ultimately didn't distract me at all from the book. I did have some qualms about how the gift worked, but I was able to suspend my disbelief easily and just roll with it.


The characters in this book were so much fun and I really felt like I saw them grow and evolve. Catch especially was a sweetheart, and her pies were terribly amusing. The plot moved through the characters and they all had a lot of complexity to them that made me feel like they were actual people I would know.


This was a warm-and-fuzzy read and I totally recommend it.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.