Christy Lynch

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Though he’s best known as the “Great British Baking Show” judge with an icy blue stare fit to scare any hopeful contestant, Paul Hollywood is also an exceptional baker in his own right. With BAKE, he shares his go-to recipes for all the classics, from cakes and cookies to doughnuts, pastries and pies. There is, of course, an extensive chapter on bread in which Hollywood really shows off his expertise.

Book jacket image for Chetna’s Easy Baking by Chetna Makan

Chetna’s Easy Baking

The latest offering from beloved 2014 contestant Chetna Makan includes over 80 recipes for sweet and savory bakes. Chetna has always been known for her flavor combinations, and Chetna’s Easy Baking showcases this skill with mouthwatering offerings like pear, chocolate, star anise and hazelnut tarte Tatin and mini saffron vegan cheesecakes.

Book jacket image for Simply Vegan Baking by Freya Cox

Simply Vegan Baking

Freya Cox made a splash in 2021 as the first contestant to create all vegan bakes. Her first book, Simply Vegan Baking, takes 70 recipes for familiar treats—such as carrot cake, cinnamon rolls and jam doughnuts—and shows bakers how to make them without eggs, milk or butter, and without sacrificing that delicious, comforting flavor.

Read our review of ‘Bliss on Toast’ by “Great British Baking Show” judge Prue Leith.

Book jacket image for Baking Imperfect by Lottie Bedlow

Baking Imperfect

Lottie Bedlow felt underqualified and ill-prepared for her time as a contestant on “The Great British Baking Show” in 2020. With Baking Imperfect, she vows to tell the truth about her baking struggles and imperfections so that others might feel brave enough to give baking a go. Each recipe is rated on a scale of one to five broken eggs so that bakers of every skill level will know where to start.

Book jacket image for Showstopping Cakes by Rahul Mandal

Showstopping Cakes

Winner of the 2018 season Rahul Mandal defied expectations when he awkwardly, endearingly rose to the top. His first book, Showstopping Cakes, captures the decorative pizazz he is known and loved for by breaking down each element of an eye-popping cake—from ganache to mirror glaze to marzipan—so that bakers can construct their own masterpieces at home.

Book jacket image for Cook as You Are by Ruby Tandoh

Cook as You Are

Ruby Tandoh is one of the most published “Great British Baking Show” contestants, and Cook as You Are is her fourth release. This collection focuses on recipes that are easy, affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter what relationship you have to food or to your body. With recipes for whatever-you’ve-got fried rice and goes-with-everything groundnut soup, there’s truly something for every appetite and energy level.

Book jacket image for Bake

Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook Vegetarian

Winner of the 2019 season David Atherton thinks kids should be able to whip up their own meal, snack or treat when they’re hungry. Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook Vegetarian will teach them how, with adorable illustrations by Alice Bowsher that break down each step of the process for creating vegetarian stir fry, cheesy rabbit crackers, jam tarts and more.

Book jacket image for Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes by Giuseppe Dell’Anno

Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes

When Giuseppe Dell’Anno won the 2021 season, fans everywhere shouted “Saluti!” Now he’s packed all his favorite home bakes, inspired by his dad’s recipes and notes, into Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes. From polenta sponge cake to panna cotta and focaccia, every recipe is rustic, delicious and authentically Italian.

The contestants and judges of “The Great British Baking Show” share their signature styles, technical tips and showstopping skills.
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In the Cape Cod town of Westham, Massachusetts, Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida gets a nightmarish wake-up call. It’s her friend and fellow Cozy Capers Book Group member Tulia Peters on the line. When Tulia arrived at her restaurant early that morning, she found more than just tubs of lobster bisque stock waiting to be boiled and buckets of shrimp needing to be peeled. On the floor of her walk-in freezer, former beauty queen Annette DiCicero was lying dead among the pickle jars.

Despite Westham’s quaint, touristy glow, this is not Mac’s first rodeo. Twice before, her Cozy Capers book club has put what they know from reading cozy mysteries into action to solve real-life murders in their small town. Despite the police’s insistence that they stay out of things this time, Mac and her friends are ready to use their considerable sleuthing skills to come to Tulia’s aid in Murder at the Lobstah Shack by Maddie Day.

Tulia, who is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, had recently been seen arguing with Annette about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. This makes her person of interest numero uno in the investigation—but as Mac starts digging, she discovers plenty of other townspeople have surprising connections to the victim. As the list of suspects lengthens, readers get an around-the-Cape tour of Westham’s other charming-but-deadly locales: the pet store across the alley with the cranky owner; the free food market in the basement of the local Unitarian Universalist Church; the historic Quaker meetinghouse where members say things like, “Believe thee me”; and Greta’s Grains, the bakery where Mac’s new fiance works as a baker, just to name a few.

Short chapters keep the action moving at a good clip, and new revelations about Annette’s ill-tempered widower and past life as Miss New Bedford keep turning up the heat beneath the proverbial stock pot. When Westham’s more menacing inhabitants catch wind of Mac’s snooping, the danger threatens to boil this little seaside town alive.

Murder at the Lobstah Shack mixes up a satisfying recipe of good-hearted characters, brain-teasing mysteries and evocative writing. As readers work to put the clues together, they’ll enjoy all the details that makes a good cozy mystery so cozy: a community of close-knit neighbors, thriving small businesses, love interests who can make a mean lobster quiche and an easygoing pace of life—except, that is, for the occasional murder.

This novel mixes up a satisfying recipe of good-hearted characters, brain-teasing mysteries and evocative writing.
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In his new book, The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson tackles one of the most heralded figures in modern Western history: Winston Churchill.

The subjects you’ve tackled over the course of your career are quite broad and varied. Is there any common thread that unites your interests?
There’s no particular common thread, other than story. I’m always looking for compelling historical events that can be rendered in narrative form, with a beginning, middle and end, so that readers can get caught up in the action and live through it as if they didn’t know the ending. So that’s first. But a corollary motive is to answer the question: What was it like to have lived through that event? Then it becomes a matter of finding the right real-life characters whose experience provides the richest insight.

What compelled you to zoom in and write about this particular slice—just his first year as prime minister—of Churchill’s life and the lives of his family?
What drove me was an interest not so much in exploring that first year but rather in learning how Churchill and his family and inner circle actually went about surviving Germany’s aerial campaign against Britain. I mean, how really do you cope with eight months of near-nightly bombings—essentially a succession of 9/11s? It just happened that the Luftwaffe’s campaign coincided, rather neatly, with that first year. In fact, the year ended with an intense raid that occurred one year to the day after Churchill took office.

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of The Splendid and the Vile.

You’ve described this book as a kind of “Downton on Downing,” because of the way the book chronicles not just Churchill but other people in his life during this period. What were some of the challenges of researching these other figures?
It’s always relatively easy to research so-called “Great Man History,” because leaders like Churchill leave rich archives of documents and vast amounts of scholarship. But often the histories written about them give short shrift to the people who were crucial in helping them get through the day and to the fact that, even in the midst of great events, our heroes still had to deal with such quotidian matters as paying bills and resolving domestic dramas. It’s these little corners of history that most appeal to me, and that can be the most difficult to unearth. But the reward is great, because as I’ve found time and time again, when you open a new window on a subject, you invariably find material that other scholars, looking for other things, are likely to have overlooked.

With so much having been recorded about Churchill already, did you uncover anything in your research that surprised you about the man?
I was surprised and delighted at every turn, actually—especially by the man’s sense of humor and his ability, even in the midst of the most awful events imaginable, to step up and just have fun—whether doing bayonet drills in the great hall of his country home or singing along to “Run Rabbit Run,” one of his favorite songs. Of course, his idea of fun also happened to include watching air raids from the nearest rooftop.

Why are we so interested in Churchill? What makes so many writers want to write about him, and so many readers want to read about him?
Maybe because there’s a heroic clarity to the man that seems so absent in the leaders we have today. Also, there’s always that underlying mystery: How did he do it? That’s what most intrigued me. My goal was to capture a richer, deeper sense of the man and his day-to-day experience and of those who helped him endure—because believe me, he did not do it alone. He relied heavily on family and his closest advisers for wisdom, comfort and simple distraction.

Your footnotes contain fascinating stories and insights that weren’t included in the main text. Would you share your favorite?
I do love salting the notes with little stories. That’s my reward for those stalwart souls who, like me, enjoy a good footnote. I’m a bit hesitant to give these stories away, but I suppose my favorite is the one in which Churchill’s long-suffering bodyguard, Inspector Thompson, describes the uniquely withering quality of Clementine Churchill’s glare whenever she became annoyed with him—which, apparently, was quite often.

“Even in the midst of great events, our heroes still had to deal with such quotidian matters as paying bills and resolving domestic dramas. It’s these little corners of history that most appeal to me . . .”

This book, like your others, is both methodically researched and engagingly narrative. Do you frontload your writing process with research, or do research and writing happen simultaneously?
My ideal is to finish all my research before I begin writing. This never happens. Invariably I get to a point where I feel that I’ve just got to start writing, whether the research is done or not. The story starts begging to come out, scratching at the door. So I’ll start writing those passages for which the underlying source material is most complete. I should point out, however, that the research never does end. I keep reading and tweaking until the final page-proofs are finished and the book is ready to be printed. And then I hope to God that I got everything right—which is why, for this book, I asked three top Churchill experts to read the final manuscript and hired a professional fact-checker to give it a line-by-line, quote-by-quote examination.

What’s the significance of the title, The Splendid and the Vile?
It derives from an observation made by one of Churchill’s private secretaries, John Colville, a central character in the book. In his diary he describes a particularly dramatic night raid, which he watched through a bedroom window. He was struck by the contrast between the beauty of the interplay of searchlights, guns and fire, and the awful reality it represented.

Are there any contemporary figures who embody Churchill’s leadership style—particularly, as you put it, “his knack for making people feel loftier, stronger, and, above all, more courageous”?
At the moment, no. Sadly, quite the opposite.

Do you have a favorite Churchill portrayal in film or TV?
No. Frankly, I think they mostly miss the mark, invariably leaning toward caricature. I must note that during the three or four years I worked on this book, I avoided watching any film or television portrayals of Churchill, so as not to distort my own emerging sense of the man. One of my favorite moments in my book is one windy night in the garden at 10 Downing Street, when Churchill, on the verge of a devastating decision, desperately needed the comfort and advice of a close friend, and. . . . Oops, too bad. I see we’ve run out of time.


Author photo © Nina Subin

In his new book, The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson tackles one of the most heralded figures in modern Western history: Winston Churchill. The subjects you’ve tackled over the course of your career are quite broad and varied. Is there any common thread that unites your interests? There’s no particular common thread, other than […]

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