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…
So, don’t read this when you are on a diet, ha!
Sandy Nawrot says
I think you are in the majority with this one. The book has made its rounds, and the publisher has accomplished their task. I would pick this book up. It sounds really good.
Hi Dar: I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my page and commenting on my post about Adwen. You are so right, I should not feel guilty…I am feeling less of that today, and more anger, really. It just isn’t fair. ***Hugs*** back to you. Have a great week. 🙂
I won this book and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Those blackberry brownies sound divine.
I heard the author chat on Book Club Girl and thought this would be a great pick for my book club. Thanks for the great review. I will have to add it to my TBR list.
Scrap girl says
Sounds really good and you know I just love books about food!
Red lady-Bonnie says
I am a fan of Judith Hendricks work as well and loved this book.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Your review was wonderful! Those blackberry brownies sound scrumptious and would be a perfect dessert for a book club!!
Excellent review, Dar! Thank you for all the energy you put into reading and reviewing this book! It is greatly appreciated.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. At first I thought it might be a little “chick lit’ish” for me but it really does not fall into that genre.
Great review. I need to read this. I enjoyed Bread Alone.
Glad you enjoyed it, this sounds like a good writer. Its great when a book has you hooked from page one.
Must get hands on this book!!! Your reviews are dangerous to my stack of books that I have to read!!!!
Carrie K. says
I loved this one, too. Great review!
Lenore, lol. I’m a sucker for anything food related.
Sandy, yes, I haven’t seen anyone who hasn’t liked it. I’ve read her others though and I knew I was in for another treat.
Missy, hugs to you.
Kathy, I’ll be watching for oyur review.
Jess, ooooh, I must remember to go and listen to the book club chat. I bet it was great. This would be a great book club selection.
Viv, me too 🙂
Lisa, thanks for popping by. This was such a great book that it was easy to review.
Bonnie, it was just great, wasn’t it? Exactly what I expect from Judith. Another book I know I won’t forget for a good long while.
Ti, no Judith’s books aren’t chick-lit’ish at all. I think they’re books about real people that you come to care about through her writing. Have you read any of her others?
Holly, have you read Baker’s Apprentice. It’s the sequel to Bread Alone and was really good too.
Naida, I agree. It’s books like these that I just love especially when you’re sad that it’s over. This one still could have went on for me. I hope there’s a sequel.
Staci, oh no. I’m going to get blamed for another one. Oh well, I think this one will be well worth it.
Carrie, I’m glad you liked it too. I’ll have to read your review of it.
Wow, Dar, great review! I’m definitely adding this to the TBR pile 😀
Literary Feline says
This does sound like a great book. Thank you for a wonderful review!
You know I loved this one. Between the food and setting descriptions I just couldn’t put it down!
Yes! Her books are very homey. I just wish there were more of them!
S. Krishna says
I have this one on my shelf and really need to get to reading it. Thanks for the review!
I like the fact that there is a lot of food description in this book. It sounds like a very comfortable read. I will be looking into it, thanks!
Thoughts of Joy says
Too funny! Somehow my comment was posted twice, so I deleted one and now there’s none!
Anyway, I said that I read 2 of Hendrick’s novels and enjoyed them both. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, but it’s on my TBR List and that doesn’t have as good as odds as being on my TBR Shelf. 🙂
Janel, I had a really hard time putting it down too. I read it in a few days if not less.
Jill, I agree. I always find that when I find such a great author they don't have enough books out there for me. I'd love more by her too!
Joy-lol. I hope you will be able to get to it one of these days. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts when you do.
I totally missed this review back in May and it sounds so good too! Thanks for posting the book trailer along with your review, enjoyed it also. Will keep an eye out for this one …