For What It's Worth by Karey White
Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.
Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?
My review of For What It’s Worth by Karey White:
This is Karey’s second book, and it’s theme is very different than her first book, Gifted, proof that Karey’s talent extends beyond one genre.
In For What It’s Worth, Abby is left a bakery and the money needed to pursue her dream of opening a wedding cake shop. She opens the yellow pages and picks out a contractor, surprised and pleased when the handsome Dane Reynolds shows up on her doorstep, who coincidentally shares her religious beliefs, something rare in Washington. They hit it off and before long, they’re dating.
Abby has all she wants in the mild success of the bakery and her new love Dane, mostly due to her unique pricing method of allowing customers to pay what they think the cake is worth rather than a set price. A series of events causes the shop to succeed beyond her wildest dreams. Abby then has to decide what her priorities are. Is it the bakery which now takes up her every waking moment, or her desire to have a family—with Dane? In For What It’s Worth Karey asks us to think about our own lives. If we’re given everything we’ve ever wanted, only those things don’t work together, what would be most important to us?
Karey has created memorable and lovable characters in this book. Abby and Dane are both flawed humans, like the rest of us, who are perfect for each other. Their families are full of appealing characters, and Abby’s shop helpers are interesting and intriguing. I love the premise of the “pay me what you think it’s worth” idea. Karey extends the theme to other areas of the book by asking what all aspects of our lives are worth.
One of the best parts of the book is that each chapter starts with a recipe that has to do with something in the chapter, everything from “Aunt Grace’s Favorite Snickerdoodles” to “Homemade Egg Noodles” to “Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie” (which I can’t wait to try) to “A Fairy Tale Day.”
It’s a great book that I had a hard time putting down. I’d keep saying, “one more chapter” and then five chapters later, eyes drooping, I’d finally put it aside. It’s as charming as its lead characters, the love story is realistic and heartbreaking and uplifting, and as much as you want to shake Abby for some of the disastrous decisions she makes, they are completely understandable and human.
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy good LDS romance stories.
Interview with Karey
KW: I'm so excited about my current project. It's the story of a girl who falls head over heels for Mr. Darcy. And not just any Mr. Darcy, but the one played by Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 film. It's been a blast to write and I borrowed heavily from my own experience falling head over heels for that particular Mr. Darcy.
Interview with Karey
CB: For anyone who isn’t yet familiar with you, tell us a little about yourself.
KW: I'm married to a great guy and I have four fantastic kids. I'm the oldest of eleven children so I have a ton of family, including dozens of nieces and nephews. I love to create and over the years, I've owned my own wedding cake business, I've designed and made clothes, I've done scrapbooking, needlework, art. The great thing about writing is that I can create with much less mess than most of the other things I've done.
CB:You’ve said you enjoy baking, which is obvious in this book. Was the book inspired by your love of baking, or did the story come to you outside of that particular hobby?
KW:I had my own wedding cake business for about a dozen years. I always thought it would be fun to write a book about someone in the business because there is a lot of drama and humor that comes with any job that deals exclusively with brides and weddings.
CB:How did you come up with the fabulous idea of beginning each chapter with a recipe?
KW:I love to bake and I love to cook. I thought it would be fun to share recipes and a few cake decorating instructions with readers. I read recipe books like they're novels and I devour cake decorating books. Even now that I don't do wedding cakes anymore, I still love to look at them and read books about them.
The recipe’s all reflect something within the chapter, either something the characters are eating or making. Did you add the recipe’s after you finished a chapter, or did you have an idea of what recipe’s you wanted to include and then add that food item to the chapter to make it fit the recipe?
When I first wrote the book, I had either a quote or a recipe at the beginning of each chapter. Jennifer, my editor, liked the idea of the recipes more than the quotes, so she suggested we do a recipe of some kind at the beginning of each chapter. Since I already had recipes at the beginning of about half the chapters, it wasn't hard to go back and work in the other recipes. And just so you know, I've made every recipe in the book. Except the "How to Ruin a Birthday." I hope I don't ever try that one.
CB:Where did you come up with the unique and risky way that Abby chooses to price her creations?
KW:The idea behind Abby's pricing method came as a result of a conversation I had with the mother of a bride whose cake I did. She loved the cake and said she was surprised what a bargain it was. It looked so much more expensive than what they paid. As I thought about that later, I wondered what she'd have been willing to pay for it. Fast forward a few years and I was writing the story.
KW:Parts of Abby are definitely based on me, although I think she's probably braver than me. I borrow from people in all my writing. There are little bits and pieces of people I know in most of my characters.
CB: How much time do you spend each day/week on writing?
KW:I try to devote several hours every weekday to my writing, but when I say "my writing," I'm actually including more than just writing. I'm including marketing, keeping up with my blog/website, trying to come up with a clever tweet occasionally. I don't do much writing on Saturdays and I never do any on Sundays.
CB:What project are you working on next?
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