The Secret Ingredient for a Happy Marriage – Review

 The Secret Ingredient for a Happy Marriage

by: Shirley Jump

Amazon / Goodreads


Nora has always been the sister who binds the O’Bannons together. No matter what crisis hits, smart, dependable Nora knows how to fix it. But for Nora, the pressure of perfection is taking its toll.

Nora’s marriage is in trouble, and she has been reluctant to worry her sisters with just how dire her situation is. Now though, faced with losing her husband, her home, and the life she’s worked so hard to build, Nora can no longer pretend.

As the O’Bannon women rally around her, Nora begins to see that failure is nothing to fear. It’s like they say in the bakery: if you want to make something good, you can’t be afraid to get messy. When her husband returns, asking Nora to give their family a second chance, Nora must decide if their relationship can be saved-or if it’s time to throw out the old recipe and start from scratch.


The Secret Ingredient for a Happy Marriage – Review

More of the O’Bannon sisters, more of the amazing bakery. Count me in!

We saw a little of Nora in the first book – The Perfect Recipe for Love and Friendship. (Click to see my review). I adored seeing her again.

This time, Nora is completely different. In the first book, I saw Nora as this strong woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Now, she has turned around and the reader is able to see all of the cracks beneath her glassy exterior. Nora is not perfect. In fact, she’s exhausted. She’s been doing everything by herself for the longest time, and she’s had enough. And I can’t say I blame her. 

Over the course of the first 250 pages, I honestly didn’t like Nora – which was not cool because I liked her in the first book. She’s internally whiny, and she’s full of self-doubt. From the synopsis, I knew there was going to be a little self-doubt, but I felt like there was just too much. I needed to see her waiver a little, but I could have done without the inner monologue every other chapter. After the 250 mark, she did slowly start to redeem herself.

The pacing I felt was super slow. There was not much happening during the first 250 pages of the book. It was mostly background and the self-doubt, with tons of repeated information sprinkled in between. The rest of the pages just flew by after all that, and I found myself starting to like Nora more and the story itself.

One aspect I completed loved about this story was the fact that it does center around a bakery, and y’all know I love me some cupcakes and cookies. Another great redeeming factor was that all of the other sisters made appearances and some other storylines were tied up that we saw in the first one. I would love to see a book about Magpie’s future! Sadly, overall, this was just an ok read for me.

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