Paperback : 320 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Quercus 2010
Source: Charity Shop Purchase
First Sentences: 'Are you waiting at table then? You can hardly do it in chef's whites' The voice was not friendly. Kate turned from the sink to see Dennis, the Foreign Office butler, lips pursed and eyes narrowed behind his designer frames.
Review Quote: 'Sophie Kinsella for grown-ups' Daily Express
My Opinion: Engaging and well written story.
I have always found Prue Leith an interesting personality and have followed her career as a professional chef and food writer in the press so of course it will be no surprise that when she started writing fiction, I wanted to read them. I have now read four of her five novels including this one, starting with Leaving Patrick in 1999, Sisters in 2002, and The Gardener in 2008. Her novels are not great literature but they are enjoyable and realistic, as she draws on her own life experiences as a business woman and a cook. Her writing will appeal to fans of contemporary fiction. Although sometimes a little predictable she provides exactly what one should expect if you pick up a book in this genre, an engaging and well written story. The theme of food, politics and celebrity gossip seen through the eyes of the two main characters and how innocent people can be drawn into a scandal held my interest.
The female protagonist Kate McKinnon is your average single mother of a five year old son, attempting to balance bringing him up alone and keep up the success of her private catering company. When Kate is hired by the Foreign Office to cook at private functions for them she comes into contact with Oliver Stapler, Secretary of State. She finds herself befriended by him and does not see the dangers that this might lead to, as she knows he is unobtainable to her, or is he? Unfortunately there are people that would like to see Kate fail, so alerting the press to an affair, true or not, is a good way of destroying her business. As well as Kate's narrative of events we are also told Oliver's side of the story, through his own voice. I must say I was surprised at how naive he was portrayed as, considering his political position in the government, one would have expected him to be more worldly.
In conclusion an interesting scenario that left me not really knowing what was going to happen to the friendship between Kate and Oliver. Maybe Prue Leith is planning a sequel?
Prudence Margaret Leith was born on February 18th 1940 in South Africa. Her very successful adult life has been spent mostly in London where she still lives dividing her time between there and Oxfordshire. As an entrepreneurial business woman she has been a successful cook, restaurant and cookery school owner, food writer and since 1995 a novelist.
There was also an interesting article published in The Independent on January 17th 2013 My Life In Food
Photo and Biographical Information is with thanks to the following sites where you can also find out more about the author and her writing.
Goodreads Prue Leith - Official Website Prue Leith - Wikipedia Prue Leith - Amazon Book Page