From the New York Times best-selling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.
As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it's her job to cater other peoples' dates, and that's just fine by her. At 37, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She's got six steady clients that keep her hands full.
There's Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor's orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is "allergic to everything"; and finally, a man she calls "Mr. Tuesday," whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.
For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma's takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and - oh yes - butter.
©2012 Beth Harbison (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
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"Predictable but Very Enjoyable"
May induce appetite.
I love the personality Orlagh brings to the characters.
No, just some laughs and smiles with a few heart warming moments thrown in.
Great choice when you need a break between heavier books.
"Predictable Fun - Audio Book Comfort Food"
Maybe, if I wanted something mindless to zone out to again. It's not the kind of book that really merits more than one listen otherwise.
I was rather fond of the crazy Russians, and wish there had been more of them. I would love to read a book just about Vlad's crazy psychic adventures and clients.
Not any one scene in particular, but the mini-scenes of cooking in general were great. Harbison has a gift for describing delicious meals, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't inspire me to do a little extra baking of my own.
You pretty much know exactly what's going to happen next, so it's not one where you're glued to the story. It's funny and nice enough though that I was happy to listen to it fairly quickly, as just a thing to have on in the background.
Cassidy has a nice narration overall, but she had a bad habit of giving certain characters extremely nasal voices. This can be pretty grating at times.
As a side note, the audiobook only has a little explicit sex (chapter 4, I think?), but has enough adult language and situations I wouldn't listen to it on speaker around teens or conservative older people. It was still a lot of fun though, that's just an FYI for anyone trying to figure out what they can safely play around grandma (or not).
"Enjoyable listen; marvelous narrator"
More depth than typical for this sort of book. Fairly predictable but not stupidly so. I enjoyed the book and appreciated the fine narration. Characterization was mostly strong. Reminded me, sort-of, of Barbara O'Neal's writing.
Excellent book to listen to. I thought the performance was great and narrator also made me laugh. Description of the different clients the cater had was great.
"Another great Beth/Orlagh book!"
I love both of these amazing women together. The stories are often both funny and endearing. And Orlagh Cassidy is my favorite narrator.
"A Super Summer Read"
What a slice of life in one super read. I did not want this story to end. Orlagh Cassidey, as always, a voice that I could listen to all day.
Reading a story is one thing but when listening to a story the narration is what helps to develop the characters, the surroundings...the story. I have listened to all books by BH and look forward to the next!
This is my first Beth Harbison book. I am not sure I will try her other books. Ms. Harbison creates very interesting characters and the dialog is often witty and humorous. Several critical components necessary to a good book are there. But the interesting characters were unfortunately the secondary characters and they were not utilized fully. This was one of those books that when you finished it, you had no interest in learning what happened next to the main characters, but felt a mild curiosity about some of the secondary ones' futures.
There were three critical flaws with the plot. First, the first half of the book meanders along with basically no plot. She introduces eccentric characters, has some funny dialog, but there is really no story there. Then once she gets to the main relationship of the book, she rushes through it so rapidly, it makes absolutely no sense. She spends so little time on the budding relationship between Gemma and Mac it is hard for the reader to accept that in the last 30 minutes of the audiobook they realize they are madly in love, willing to make major changes in their lives and he accepts what she has been hiding as if it is no big deal. They were virtual strangers. There was no relationship there one minute and the next, they were soul mates who lived happily ever after.
The second flaw was that she did create sympathetic secondary characters and Gemma makes some pretty strong commitments to some of them. Commitments that she evidently abandons, based on the epilogue. That makes Gemma unsympathetic and dislike-able to me. Other characters you become interested in either just disappear or you get a rushed update on them in the epilogue that doesn't bring closure to the characters, and actually seem so out of character you wonder if she forgot what she had written about them previously.
Finally, plots based on coincidences, poor timing, and a characters inability to clear things up when they first get the chance are almost always weak. This was no exception. It was so obvious who the mysterious Mac was it was hard to accept that Gemma really couldn't figure it out. This book would have been much more entertaining if the focus was on building the relationship between the two characters, not on the number of times they "almost" figured it out. It all seemed artificial and contrived.
I finished this book with a sense that the author sat down to write a book that could be narrated in 7 hours and 55 minutes. Shed dilly dallied along with her characters until she looked at the clock, realized she had already written 7 hours and 25 minutes of content and spent the remaining 30 minutes developing and adding an actual plot, bringing it to a conclusion and writing an epilogue.
I've read enough "Chick Lit" to know that they often spend more time on the main characters "inner thoughts" than an actual plot. That can work if the main character's "inner thoughts" are remotely interesting. In this book, they weren't.
The narration was very good. If it had not been I would not have finished this book.
I enjoyed it but it was four hours in and I felt like the author was still setting up the story but I would still recommend it.
"comfortable, sweet book"
this is my second beth harbison book, and it won't be my last. the characters are sweet and real, the narrator was spot on, and the story kept my interest. really great book in every way!
"Better than I thought"
I was dubious about this book. I would never read it but it was a comforting and fun listen! Love the narrator.
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