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Friday, August 14, 2020

Apple Ginger Crumb Cake | The Lost Girls of Devon

Apple Ginger Crumb Cake | The Lost Girls of Devon
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

What does one do in the midst of buying a home, renovating said home so it's livable, packing up their current home of 11.5 years, and moving? Reads a book, of course! But really, I've been extremely stressed out and on the verge of losing it, so taking an hour or two to escape in a good book here and there was just what the doctor ordered. Welcome to my TLC Book Tours stop for the latest novel by Barbara O'Neal, The Lost Girls of Devon.

Part mystery, part multi-generational drama, this book wound up being a rollercoaster of emotions (I even teared up once or twice). Four generations of Fairchild women make up this story, and we hear viewpoints from each—in order of generation, oldest to youngest, we have Lillian, Poppy, Zoe, and Isabel.

TLC Book Tours hostGreat grandmother Lillian is a successful novelist who writes mysteries with a feminist mind in the English county of Devonshire. Her daughter Poppy is a "free spirit" who broke society's chains and left her young daughter to be raised by her own mother as she traveled the world, causing an estrangment that she wishes desperately to repair (and has since moved back to her hometown, bringing her magic with her). Zoe, who gave up on her dreams of becoming an artist is still close with the grandmother who raised her, though she currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her teenage daughter Isabel. Isabel is going through trauma from some severe, heartbreaking bullying that she recently received from her "friends", and is now being homeschooled.

When Zoe's best friend from childhood goes missing, she and Isabel hop on a plane and travel to Devon, reuniting the four generations in one town wrought with mysterious happenings. Relationships are formed and repaired. A couple of mysteries are solved. And there's a lot of good food on the pages to boot.

Being the "third generation" of women (Zoe's spot) myself, I could relate to her character...but also the other women. Each one was different from the next, with similarities that shone through now and then. And having a daughter the same age as Isabel, her storyline shattered me at times, squeezing my heart to bits and making me want to explode with rage all at the same time. Plus, Poppy happened to be a Kitchen Witch who read tarot cards, prepared spell packets, and worked on manifestation, much like myself.

The food woven throughout seemed mostly representative of comfort. Fried Cheese Pies, thick toast spread with jam or marmalade, stews so enveloping they make you cry, muffins studded with big grains of brown sugar, homemade bread, locally or homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You get the drift. It was as it should be.

This was the first novel I've read by Barbara O'Neal, but I'm looking forward to crossing some more of hers off of my TBR list!

The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal

The Lost Girls of Devon

author: Barbara O'Neal
publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 14, 2020)
Paperback: 351 pages

"foodie" read: Actually, it kind of was—so much food!

opening sentence: The day my mother left me was an overcast English morning, with drizzle moistening the air and our faces.

teaser: It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.

about the author: Barbara O’Neal is the author of twelve novels of women’s fiction, including The Art of Inheriting Secrets, How to Bake a Perfect Life, and The All You Can Dream Buffet. Her award-winning books have been published in more than a dozen countries, including France, England, Poland, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. She lives in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs with her beloved, a British endurance athlete who vows he’ll never lose his accent.

connect with the author: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Apple Ginger Crumb Cake

From the cupboard, I took a saucer edged with lilies of the valley, my grandmother's pattern, and served myself a slab of cake. It was still warm as I cut into it, the flavors of soft apple and sharp ginger mixed with the buttery crumb sent tiny waves of pleasure and comfort down my nerves. (page 122)

Yield: 8-10
Author: Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Apple Ginger Crumb Cake

Apple Ginger Crumb Cake

Tender apple and sharp ginger studded cake with a buttery crumb topping.
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 45 MTotal time: 60 M


For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (+ 1 tablespoon for tossing the apples in)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 small-medium apples, cored and diced
  • 1” knob of ginger, peeled & grated
For the crumb topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted


  1. Grease bottom and sides, and line the bottom of an 8" round springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
Make the batter:
  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spice, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Combine buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla in a large measuring cup with spout and use your fork to whisk them together.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just combined. It will be a thick batter.
  4. Toss the apples and grated ginger with the remaining 1 Tbs of flour. Fold gently into batter.
  5. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread so it’s evenly dispersed.
Make the topping:
  1. Mix everything together in a medium bowl with fork until crumbs form.
Putting it all together:
  1. Scatter the crumb topping evenly over the batter.
  2. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  3. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan before unlocking the sides and transferring to a serving plate.
  4. Keep any leftovers at cool room temperature, loosely covered, for 3 to 4 days.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

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