Hello Kittens! This month is going by so fast that it is giving me whiplash. I’m having a decent reading month, despite a lot of distractions, but I’ve been finding a lot of comfort in lighter, fluffy reads recently. I wanted to share one of the newer releases that I’ve enjoyed with you today. Beth Harbison is probably best known for her Shoe Addict book series, but this new standalone from her hit all of the right notes for me. It is sweet, it has some serious moments, and it talks about food. I think I can safely blame reading this book for some of my holiday binge-eating. Some of the food descriptions in this book are definitely going to get your mouth watering. Sorry, not sorry.
Title: The Cookbook Club
Author: Beth Harbison
Author website: https://www.bethharbison.com/
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish date: October 20, 2020
We get the stories of three women who seemingly could not be living more different lives. Margo has spent the last few years working on her perfect life. She has a good husband and a beautiful house and generally wants for nothing. Unfortunately, digging a little deeper proves that Margo’s husband is selfish and doesn’t care about her very much and wants to leave her and her beautiful house is a social burden that isn’t bringing her any happiness. The only thing that does bring her happiness at this point is cooking. She has an impressive assortment of cookbooks, and as she begins her newly single life Margo joins 2 other women in a cookbook club: a book club dedicated to experimenting with recipes from various well-known cookbooks.
Aja is a young woman who is trying to become a better cook to impress her boyfriend. Her boyfriend comes from a wealthy family and definitely has some high expectations for her behavior. As she struggles to meet his expectations, and those of his family, she befriends the other women and learns about cooking, but also about herself. When her prince charming turns out to be charmless and she finds out her life is going to be irrevocably changed, Aja buckles down and gets a new job working for her ex-boyfriend’s mother. He is scandalized, but Aja knows that a good paying job is hard to come by and she’s not afraid of a little hard work.
Trista used a to a lawyer, but working in that highly competitive world for so many years wore her down. She decides to take a leap of faith and quit her job to fulfill her dream of owning and operating a restaurant. She finds a place and buys it, but it needs a lot of work and she’s got to come up with some creative ways to bring in more customers, otherwise she’ll be going broke sooner rather than later. Creating the cookbook club is her idea in an effort to come up with some new recipes for the restaurant.
As each woman deals with the messes in their lives, they come together to cook delicious food and form friendships with each other that get them through the hard times.
Why I liked it:
This book was a quick read with an agreeable cast of characters. Each woman has a major issue or two to deal with in their lives, and while they don’t all handle every situation with perfect grace, they are not portrayed as weak or in need of saving. I love when characters save themselves and get by with a little help from their friends. I also appreciated that while there are a few romances sprinkled around, none of them become the prime focus of the story. This story is foremost about the power of female friendship.
What I would like to change:
Everything wrapped up pretty quickly at the end and I would have liked a little more detail. Even after going back over it a few times, I still don’t entirely understand what happened with Margo’s husband, and there was some unresolved tension left over from his visit to the house to take his things. I feel like there was more set-up to that relationship falling apart and the ending felt half-hearted. It was like we knew that they weren’t going to have any sort of reconciliation, so their story just ended abruptly.
Disclaimer: I received an electronic galley of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My library rating: I didn’t see anything objectionable in this one and I think it would be a great book club pick. It could even inspire people to start their own cookbook clubs.
5 glasses of lemonade= you could recommend this book to anyone. There is nothing in here that is going to upset anyone and you could start handing it out on street corners.
My personal preference rating: 3 stars. I enjoyed reading this book, but I don’t think the story or the characters are going to stick with me very long. It was a good palate-cleanser read.