Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.
Meet Your Baker is the first book in my new Bakeshop
Mystery series featuring a pastry chef who has returned
home to Ashland, Oregon to help manage her family’s
Ashland, Oregon is nestled in the foothills between the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains. The picturesque town of Ashland is home to the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, an eclectic community of artists, playwrights, outdoor adventure seekers, college students, farmers and retirees. Surrounded by the stunning peak of Mt. Ashland, the crystal-clear Rogue River and a network of hiking trails, the small town resembles a European village. The historic Elizabethan theater in the center of town is a gorgeous setting to watch Shakespeare under the stars or catch a modern production.
Ashland boasts ornately decorated Victorian houses, a charming shopping district with Shakespearean pubs, restaurants and shops, and a community of locals always ready to welcome you in.
When Juliet (Jules) Capshaw left her quaint and quirky hometown of Ashland, Oregon ten years ago she wasn’t sure she’d ever come back. Not because her sweet little town left a bad taste in her mouth. Quite the opposite. She cherished growing up in the artistic community surrounded by playwrights, actors and longtime locals. In fact, it was hearing stories of far-off places from the townsfolk and tourists that sparked her desire to see the world for herself.
After graduating from culinary school, she set sail for an adventure as an apprentice pastry chef on a cruise ship. Port by port, she perfected her pastry recipes, honed her culinary skills and fell for the ship’s executive chef, Carlos. On a romantic whim, the two tied the knot while docked in Marseille and Jules had been sailing on cloud nine ever since. Just as her dream of taking over as head pâtissière was about to come true, her life took an unexpected turn.
Now brokenhearted, Jules has returned to her hometown to help her mom, Helen, run the family bakeshop—Torte. There’s no place like home to heal a broken heart and no one better than Helen who serves up sage advice along with her rustic tarts and savory scones, to help Jules through it.
Torte is always buzzing with chocolate-coated confections, rich espresso drinks and a side of town gossip. A batch of trouble arrives in the form of a new Oregon Shakespeare Festival board member who manages to make the usually merry town boil over with anger.
When the board member ends up dead at Torte, in a sea of raspberry puree, Jules begins to peel back the layers of her charming little town and realizes there are some unsavory players in the mix. Jules sets to work on finding a killer while crafting world-class pastries, and settling into a delicious new life she never knew she was missing.