How Sweet It Is

series: Heart of Carolina

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Deena Livingston leaves behind a broken romance and her chef job in Atlanta to spend time at her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. But her grandfather has an odd request: he wants Deena to teach cooking classes to the ragtag group of middle-schoolers who attend the local afterschool program, The Center. Reluctantly, Deena agrees, but how is she supposed to convince these kids that cooking at home is better than eating at McDonalds? And after all she went through in Atlanta, why is she attracted to Zack, the social worker at The Center? Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber, a curly-haired basketball player, and a group of middle-schoolers change Deena's outlook on life?

The Author

  1. Alice J. Wisler
    Photo by: Scott Faber Photography

    Alice J. Wisler

    Alice J. Wisler is an author, public speaker, advocate, and fundraiser. She has been a guest on several radio and TV programs to promote her self-published cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and...

    Continue reading about Alice J. Wisler


"Alice Wisler provides another likable heroine in her second novel, How Sweet It Is. Deena Livingston has been planning her wedding until her car accident. The accident left her with serious scars, both emotional and physical. In order to start over she leaves her comfortable job as a pastry chef at an upscale restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, and moves into her grandfather's North Carolina mountain cabin. The cabin and all its belongings will become hers, after she fulfills the will's stipulation that she teach cooking at an after-school center. Upon arrival Deena is embraced by her flamboyant Aunt Regena Lorraine, who helps Deena move into her beloved father's cabin. As Deena adjusts to her new life she realizes she is not the only one who carries scars. With the help of an Eagles-lyric spouting plumber, surly middle-schoolers, and the charming social worker, Deena decides life can once again become sweet.

Wisler's first novel Rain Song showcased her ability for providing readers with an absorbing plot laced with a cast of memorable characters. Her second offering builds upon this talent, making the reader eager for her next novel. Her plot devices and character interactions breathe life into the Christian fiction genre. The only real holdback is the cover, which is embarrassingly saccharin in design. The content is definitely solid, and Wisler is a welcome addition in those writers who offer spiritual truths wrapped up in believable, contemporary settings."
--Pam Webb, Christian Library Journal, October-December 2009

"Deena Livingston has trained under Chef Santiago Bordeaux at Atlanta's stylish Plalacio del Roy restaurant. her specialty is cake decorating. (Recipes with tips are included) Life is good for Deena as she is going to be married to her longtime sweetheart. Then there is a serious accident and Deena is critically injured, both physically and emotionally. She is scarred and dumped by her fiancee. She feels like her life will never be good again. Word comes surprisingly that Grandpa Ernest has died and left her his cabin in Bryson City, NC. Upon her arrival she learns there are strings attached to the gift. She has thought only about opening a cake-decoration business and now her plans are changed. Will Deena regret she has left family, friends and a great job to go to a country cabin?

"This is a story a mid-teen will find interesting and learn about starting a business from scratch."
--Velma Davis, New Chief (Winter Haven, FL), June 7, 2009

"Wisler's delicious novel will hit the spot for readers looking for a poignant story about a woman trying to find her place in the world. Deena's past is doled out a little too slowly to give readers an understanding of her motivation, but overall, this is a tender tale.

"SUMMARY: When Deena Livingston's grandfather dies, he leaves her a cabin in North Carolina. Since her life in Atlanta took a disappointing turn, Deena decides to move and start a cake-decorating business. But her grandfather's bequest comes with strings attached: Deena must teach cooking to a group of middle-school students. But maybe her grandfather knew what he was doing. Deena may learn as much as her students."
3 stars
--Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Reviews, May 2009