Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

When in Doubt, Add Butter
Author: Beth Harbison
Published: July 17, 2012
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 352 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): 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 thirty-seven, 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.

My Thoughts: I have read two of Beth Harbison's books before (reviews here) and really enjoyed one of them and didn't really like the other one. So when I heard about her new book coming out, I figured, "Maybe the third times the charm." And I'm so glad that I decided to give her a second chance. In this one, we meet Gemma, a personal chef in the DC area who has a strange mix of clients, no real personal life, and a one night stand who she just can't stop thinking about. Gemma is a great character, someone who just really like because she is average. She isn't in some extreme circumstances, she has a pretty normal job (private chef isn't entirely normal, but they way she goes about her business is what most of us do in our daily lives), and she keeps mostly to herself. Gemma wonders about the "what ifs" in her life, but just continues to move forward to forge ahead, forsaking her personal life in an attempt to further her business.

Now, this was an enjoyable novel, something that I was able to read prety quickly and just get lost it (which everyone needs sometimes). The thing that I found lacking, though, was a strong plot. There is a plot, but Harbison just kind of meanders through the book, knowing that she is going to get where she wants, but not always pulling you along with her. There were times when I wondered if there would really be an ending to this book (there was, don't worry!), but it was just such an easy read, and Gemma was so engaging, that I didn't want to give up on it. I am happy that I decided to give Beth Harbison another chance because she didn't disappoint with this novel. If you are looking for something easy to read that's engaging, then you might want to check this one out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I have read a couple of her books and had the same reaction you did. I liked one and not the other. I have this one sitting on my shelf, but didn't want to be disappointed. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll crack it open soon.