The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks is quite simply a great book and I loved it! She was already one of my favorite authors as I’ve already read Bread Alone and The Baker’s Apprentice and loved both of those too. She didn’t disappoint with The Laws of Harmony. It has that same richness to the writing and storyline and will have you captivated from the first page. Truthfully I was shocked at how fast almost 500 pages flew by and left me wanting more!
Sunny Cooper grows up in a commune in New Mexico. From a child she doesn’t like the lifestyle and just wants to get out. So, the first chance she gets, she leaves and gets started on her own life. She meets Micheal, her fiance, who ends up being someone she didn’t know at all. Really, everyone in her life seems to be someone she didn’t ever really know including her best friend Betsy. Finally, overwhelmed by everything happening around her, Sunny leaves and ends up in the town of Harmony on San Miguel Island.
It is here that Sunny really comes to terms with many things in her life while trying to figure out who she really is and what she really wants from her life. She sorts through the turbulent feelings she has about her mother and her upbringing and the tragedies suffered there. She gets a job and finds a place to live. She makes a huge effort to keep everyone at arm’s length but the inhabitants of Harmony have a way of inching their way into people’s lives with kindness and it’s this peaceful, loving way of life that leads Sunny to forgive the past and move on from it. To realize that maybe some relationships are worth having and nurturing.
I also loved that again, food was a big part of Judith’s newest novel. Sunny loves to bake and the descritpions of said baking are enough to leave your mouth watering. I also loved hearing about all the foods of New Mexico-especially when Sunny and her mom are making enchiladas and a dessert called capirotada-New Mexico’s idea of bread pudding. Oh and let’s not forget the Blackberry Brownies of which you can see a recipe here on Judith’s website. The descriptions of Harmony leave you wishing you were living there yourself and if you aren’t, you should be. The restaurant where Sunny worked, the bookstore with her friend Freddie’s apartment above it to Sunny’s own place out in the woods all leave you with a nice warm feeling of being somewhere special.
All of the characters in the novel are well developed especially Sunny. It was interesting to see her grow throughout the novel and open herself to trusting people and letting them into her life. This novel just holds so much-there is Sunny essentially coming into herself and behind it all a mystery surrounding her fiance that is finally answered in the end. It’s a long novel that has a lot going on it but you never think of it as a hindrance. It all blends so nicely together and falls into place in the end. I feel like reading one of Judith’s novels is like a feeling of home to me. You just become so involved in the story and people that she’s written out for you. She’s left this one wide open for a sequel and I’m really hoping there will be one. Sunny’s story is left at a good place. We know what’s happening and there aren’t any loose ends, yet it’s also left at a place that leaves us wanting so much more-needing to know so much more.
I would recommend The Laws of Harmony. I think it would make a great book club selection. There’s a reading guide in the back and just think what a hit those Blackberry Brownies mentioned above would be! I would recommend any of Judith’s books as her writing style is the same in the others and just as captivating. Make sure to check out Judith’s website here and you can buy this book here in the US and here in Canada.
Many thanks to Lisa with TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in the tour for The Laws of Harmony. Make sure to stop by the other tour stops which you can find here.
I’m going to leave you with the book trailer to enjoy…