I feel completely whole when there is a new Dove Pond book in my Kindle, ready to be devoured. This is hands down, the most underrated book series around and I need more people to be talking about it so Karen Hawkins continues to write about the Dove sisters and we could maybe eventually get a TV or movie adaptation of this magical town. 

"The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove" is the third book in the series by Karen Hawkins; it comes behind The Book Charmer and A Cup of Silver Linings which are centered around other Dove sisters. The 3rd book is, if you couldn't guess, about Ella Dove who we had not previously met aside from a small mention at the end of A Cup of Silver Linings.

I've talked about this in my other book reviews but the Dove Pond series is a mix of Practical Magic and Gilmore Girls; the small town of Dove Pond, with their rich history and quirky town folk, definitely give off Stars Hollow vibes while the magic of the Dove sisters feels like Practical Magic. Though, the sisters are not witches (at least it is not called out that they are), every sister has their own special power which is hinted at through the titles of their respective books.

The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove was released on August 15th and I read it in a few days. I think I can say that this was my favorite Dove Pond book, but I think I say that about all of them.

Publisher's Summary

Ella Dove is an acclaimed baker whose desserts spark vivid, cherished memories in those who taste them. A restless soul, Ella goes wherever the wind takes her—but driven by a haunting dream, she’s coming home to Dove Pond. Years ago, her mentor, Angela Stewart Harrington, falsely accused Ella of stealing her beloved family recipe book, known as the Book of Cakes. Now, Ella believes it’s time for them to reconcile.

Angela has her own share of amends to make. Her daughter Jules has never forgiven her for divorcing her father, and they’ve been estranged ever since. But just as Angela begins to hope that she and Jules might mend their tattered relationship, a miscommunication turns into a lie that could destroy everything.

Meanwhile, Jules’s son Gray is shocked that Ella, his first love and his first heartbreak, has returned to Dove Pond. But even though he knows Ella is a wanderer and will soon leave, he’s unable to stop himself from falling for her once again. Can Gray find a way to convince Ella to give him, and their town, a serious chance? Or is he once again on the road to a broken heart?

With so much at stake, Ella, Angela, and Gray must learn to accept each other—flaws and all—forgive the many mistakes of their pasts, and trust that love can, and will, always find a way. For fans of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen, 
The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove is a delicious and magical read that will warm your heart and charm your senses.

My Thoughts

Ella Dove is scared of settling down, she's scared of Dove Pond, and she's scared of the pink frosting that keeps popping up on her body after a stressful night's sleep.

Ella Dove is interesting, whimsical, strong, and sensitive. She is a very famous cooking influencer who's special power is the ability to bake incredible desserts that give way to intense, forgotten memories for whoever is eating said dessert. I think that is such an interesting power to have - it's very different from her sisters' but it's very unique and suits Ella.

I loved being inside Ella's head; I loved reading about her struggles, her internal battle of where she should go, who she should spend time with, and how she solved (or ran) from her problems. When I first started reading Dove Pond, I thought I resonated the most with Sarah because of her love of books but with where I'm at in my life right now, I think I'm more of an Ella. 

Just as with the other Dove Pond books, there is a struggle between the Dove sister and someone else in town; there is also an element of love which is woven throughout the novel, though it's not the focal point.

This time around, the struggle between Ella, Angela and Jules was infuriating. This happened in the other books with the other antagonists but at the end of the book I still had no respect for Angela or Jules. I think their issues were completely misplaced and I did not forgive them for how they treated Ella. On the other hand, Ella's love interest, Gray, I did love. I thought he was very complex and interesting, and he was enthralled with Ella. I think he is good for Ella and I loved reading their interactions. 

I have to say that this story was filled ton of surprises. From what the strawberry frosting really means, to Ella's decision making, and the big reveal at the end, there were a lot of unexpected turns. It kept me on my toes and entertained throughout which is different for a non-thriller novel. I loved every moment of it.

There was so much good in this book, but I have to say, my dislike of Angela and Jules almost overpowered my love of Ella and Dove Pond -- it was incredibly distracting.

Karen Hawkins' writing is powerful, soothing, whimsical and inspiring; it's like a warm cup of tea, a warm fire, a comforting hug. There is so much good hidden between the lines and I never want this series to end. 

If you are looking for a comforting, cozy fall read to envelope you whole, you need to read the Dove Pond series. Please start from the beginning with The Book Charmer and go from there.

Has anyone else read Dove Pond? Did you like The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove? 


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