Marie E. Bast’s ‘The Amish Baker’s Rival’ Is Full of Charm and Life Lessons [REVIEW]

Rolling pin and dough
Which baker has the winning recipe? (Photo courtesy Canva)

She has the most popular bakery in town. He is the competition who opens his shop directly across the street. They both are determined to ensure their own business succeeds. But will their rivalry keep them apart or will their hearts draw them together? Find out in Marie E. Bast’s The Amish Baker’s Rival.

Love Inspired

Mary Brenneman may not have gone to culinary school, but the Amish baker is renowned for her huge cookies, decadent pies and over-the-top cupcakes. The fact that Kalona is a small community and her shop has always been the only bakery in town is beside the point.

Then Englischer Noah Miller moves to town from Iowa City with his two sisters, Jenny and Emily. In the wake of their parents’ deaths, they arrive in the hopes of locating the extended family they’d never known growing up… and to open Miller’s Farm-Fresh Grocery, Delicatessen and Bakery directly across the street from Mary’s shop!

Even though tourists regularly visit Kalona to visit the Amish, neither Mary nor Noah believe the town is big enough to support both their businesses. So in an effort to attract more customers, they both enter the local Fall Apple Festival baking contest and are instant rivals.

There’s just one thing that can spoil a perfectly good competition, however, and that’s the fact that both Mary and Noah are drawn to one another. He likes her sassy demeanor and wholesome good looks, and she admires how nice and handsome he is with his five o’clock shadow. And even if they weren’t rivals, they’re still from completely different worlds! Can they ever find their way toward one another? Or is there just too much keeping them apart? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I’ve only read a handful of Amish stories in the past, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Bast does a wonderful job capturing the attitudes, history, faith, and mentality of a small town steeped in the Amish culture. Having lived in Ohio—and honeymooned in Amish country—I felt transported right back to some of the towns Heather and I visited over the years, although I’ve never been to Iowa. (And yes, the baked goods are just as delicious as the author describes them!) So the author captured my imagination immediately with her setting for this story.

Still, it is the way Bast writes her characters that is most enchanting. She gives each of them unique challenges, from Mary’s broken heart after being jilted by her fiancé and Noah losing both his parents to Jenny and Emily starting school for the very first time after being homeschooled their entire lives. Bast uses their circumstances to remind us that change isn’t always bad, sometimes it just offers us new opportunities. She celebrates her characters’ humanity, and shows us the beauty of acceptance, proving that true friendships can be forged with people different from ourselves.

If you love stories by authors like Cindy Woodsmall, Marta Perry, and Linda Castillo, you should definitely give Marie E. Bast a try. The Amish Baker’s Rival is a story that will inspire you, comfort you, and leave you smiling. It may also leave your stomach growling and give you a serious case of the munchies, but that’s what your local bakery is for. Still, just in case you can’t make it out, Bast has you covered and provides you with a recipe for Emily’s Peanut Butter Bars at the back of the book. Happy reading!

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Marie E. Bast
Marie E. Bast


Marie E. Bast is an award-winning, Publishers Weekly bestselling author of The Amish Marriage Bargain and The Amish Baker. Her stories whisper words of hope and healing through complex characters and twisting plots.

She enjoyed a career with the federal government, but characters kept whispering her name. Marie retired and now pursues her passion.

When not writing, Marie enjoys walking, golfing, gardening, baking and spending time with her family.

To find out more, visit her at, read her blog, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

By Marie E. Bast
224 pp. Love Inspired. $5.99

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Pre-order The Amish Baker’s Rival direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Harlequin, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

The Amish Baker’s Rival is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

5 Responses to Marie E. Bast’s ‘The Amish Baker’s Rival’ Is Full of Charm and Life Lessons [REVIEW]

  1. Sara Strand says:

    Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Marie E. Bast, author of THE AMISH BAKER'S RIVAL, on tour December 2020/January 2021 | TLC Book Tours

  3. Thank you so much, Jathan & Heather, for the lovely post and review of my book, The Amish Baker’s Rival. It is greatly appreciated.

  4. Thank you, Jathan & Heather, for the lovely post and review. It is greatly appreciated.

  5. Loved your post, and thank you so much for the review, it is greatly appreciated.

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