book review

The Golden Spoon by Jesse Maxwell

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary

Rating: 1/5

*Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

As soon as I heard The Golden Spoon described as a mix between Clue and The Great British Bake Off it instantly became one of my most anticipated books of 2023. The story centers around a week long baking competition that takes place on the grandmotherly judge, Betsy’s, family estate. We follow along with the bakers as they arrive at the estate and as they are competing against one another. Eventually there is a murder when a terrible storm cuts the judges and contestants off from the crew of the show.

Unfortunately, this story didn’t work at all for me. When someone mentions the word Clue the first thing that comes to mind is a whodunnit. This is in no way shape or form that. And while the prologue is about Betsy finding the body we don’t get back to that until 80% of the story is done. And even then the events unfold so quickly that we still have about 10% of the book left to deal with aftermath. This is also not a murder mystery because to do that you have to leave clues and the only true clues given were not relevant to the murder at all. Or you at the very least should have the characters trying to solve the murder. Which doesn’t happen and I actually found the ending ridiculous.

Even I, an intense lover of everything character driven, found this book boring. And I think it’s because I went into expecting something Clue like and instead I was given a contemporary story with an extremely rushed murder aspect that is practically over before it starts. This book is under 300 pages and so the potential for this story to be more is there. If you were going to base this whole story on only one murder then more time should have been devoted to it. And instead of showing the readers something that would have actually been interesting to see Maxwell instead decides to just tell us about it after the fact. And to make it more frustrating, this thing we are told is the biggest part of the murder.

The Golden Spoon is clumsy and suffers from a marketing problem. I don’t know who gave this book the Clue tagline but I honestly find it a little insulting. Clue is so much more than a bunch of characters in a mansion which is all this book really gave us.


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