The Saturday Night Supper Club
by Carla Laureano
Series: Supper Club #1
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date February 6, 2018
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: Colorado Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-35
Written for: Adults
Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back … even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.
Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.
Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life--and love--outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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It is so obvious from reading this book that the author loves food. And that she knows how to cook. If it wasn’t for the fact that she talked about ingredients like asparagus and beets, my stomach would have been growling throughout the story. (I’m the opposite of a foodie, I think. My husband calls me a “Freddie Phooey”. I call my taste discriminating.)
I do really love to cook, though, and all kidding aside, I enjoyed reading not only the story of Rachel and Alex but how the restaurant operated and how Rachel prepared for the Supper Club. The amount of thought and preparation involved was amazing.
Aside from the food and the cooking, the story itself was well written. It flowed so naturally and kept my interest through the entire story.
The characters were very endearing. Rachel had a secret pain that caused her to leave home at the age of 15. And she battled incredible odds and became an award-winning chef with her education only that she gained on the job. She had a lot of learning about trust.
Alex was so kind. The fact that he couldn’t rest easy knowing he was the cause of Rachel’s pain, even though it was the opposite of his intention, and that he had to apologize to her was so sweet. I love the way he procrastinates, his insecurities, his seeming arrogance, and especially that he had the guts to cook for Rachel.
At the beginning of the story, there were mentions of people in the restaurant industry going to get drunk and to hook up after work which made me a little nervous about the direction I thought this was going. Rest assured that I was wrong. Other than the fact that there was a physical attraction between Alex and Rachel, there was very little emphasis on a physical relationship in the story at all.
For those who don’t like reading about alcohol in books, any mention of it here did not glorify it. One of the characters would not drink alcohol at all.
Guest Post From Carla Laureano
I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.
It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.
It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.
Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.
All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.
Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.
And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.
It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.
In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.
To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c9b4