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.
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What if you could grant wishes?
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell is set in Nowhere, North Carolina. Rachel Monroe has the ability to grant wishes. She has been able to do this since she was a child. But one incident changed her perspective on this gift. Rachel’s four-year-old brother was annoying her one day (when she was little) and she wished he would go away (like any other brother or sister). Unfortunately for Rachel, her brother really did disappear and everyone (except her) forgot about him (which caused several problems for her and her family). Rachel has avoided her gift since then (never learned to use it or embrace it). After accidentally granting the wish of her best friend’s daughter, Rachel feels she needs to get far away (before she does harm). Rachel ends up running out of gas in Nowhere, North Carolina. Nowhere is known as the town of lost and found. Rachel meets Catch Sisson. It turns out that Catch has a special gift of her own. Catch ends up inviting Rachel to stay with her and helps her find a job at Lux, owned by Everley Hays. Rachel also meets Ashe Riley who lives next door to Catch. Rachel is enjoying her stay and hopes that maybe this is the place for her. But then she starts seeing wishes (little slips of paper that no one else can see). She tries to avoid reading them (once she reads them the wish is granted), but sometimes it cannot be helped. What happens when people find out about her special ability? Will Rachel ever be able to embrace your special gift? You will have to read The Secret Ingredient of Wishes for the answer.
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes has good writing, and I liked the premise (I enjoy books with magic in them). I wish there had been less focus on Rachel’s romance with Ashe (who is married to someone else, though they are separated). I wanted there to be more about Rachel’s abilities (and hoped there would be others like her). This book could have been so much more. I give The Secret Ingredient of Wishes 3.5 out of 5 stars. Rachel’s attitude towards wishes (the bad attitude) went on a little too long. She came across as whiny (and defeated). It took too long for Rachel to accept her ability (to embrace it and learn to use it properly). I thought the ending was abrupt (it could have been smoother and more complete). I enjoyed Chance. She was the best character in the book. I would love a book about her life (I be it would be interesting). A series based on Nowhere and the special people in the town has potential (hint). It would need less romance and more magic. The potential is here, but it just needs a little tweaking (to bring it up to Sarah Addison Allen standards).
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest evaluation. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
story is gripping, engaging
Rachel has a huge secret, one that has brought her guilt and turmoil for years: she can grant wishes. For years she has ignored this ability and managed to not see the little slips of paper with wishes written on them that fall with each “I wish”. Until Violet’s birthday – when little Violet grabs Rachel and “shares” her birthday candle blowing-out wish. When a pony with a sugar cone held to its head with a rubber band, Rachel knows she has to get far away from her best friend Mary Beth and her family, before something horrible happens.
On a random ‘this looks good” road from Memphis, suddenly Rachel’s car is out of gas, and she’s completely lost. But is she found? Nowhere North Carolina is the town of Lost and Found, and some believe that arriving there is meant to be. Soon Rachel finds herself sitting with Catch, a third generation Secret Binder, who enables silence and tightly held secrets with concentration and incantations spelled out with butter underneath the fruit filling of her pies.
Complex characters with plenty of secrets – shared and not highlight the story that truly is Rachel’s journey to growing up and learning to make choices. Rachel, with Catch’s help, is coming to learn that her belief in the worst always happening may just be why things are not always a happy result. With several sub-plots that do seem to use secrets kept and not, as well as wishes and a romance, the story is gripping, engaging and while the tumult for Rachel is visceral and palpable, it is all the more wonderful for the ending.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.