I have read 2 other of Jennifer Scott’s books for adults, so I was excited to hear that a new one was out. It was okay. It actually came together really well in the end, not entirely predictable, but sweet and touching. I just felt like it took a long time to get started or to care about some of the characters. They seemed a bit flat.
Like I said, once it got going, it was fun seeing a diverse group of people come together all with their own problems — whether it’s being old and alone, an empty-nester unsure what to do with the next phase of her life, debilitating shyness, or trying to avoid letting others control your life.
Bren is the empty nester. Her kids both live out of the country, and this is the first year that they won’t make it home for Christmas, which understandably has her discouraged. When an opportunity to teach a cooking class comes out of the blue, she reluctantly decided to act on it. She struggles, but the class appreciates her effort and down to earth nature. The only problem is the grumpy old lady who lives above the shop. She comes down and complains, putting the class in jeopardy.
I wouldn’t call this your typical foodie fiction. Maybe it’s where I am in my life right now, trying to eat well and be fit, but it seemed like a lot of the emphasis on food was about how we use food as a substitute for other things. One character thinks the lack of food (with any taste or fat) will make her more perfect, and others routinely substitute food for sharing their feelings or lives with others.
I loved the end of the book. I just wish I had enjoyed the first 2/3 just as much. If any of these themes resonate strongly with you, you might enjoy it, especially if you are — like Bren — a discouraged middle-aged empty-nester trying to figure out your next step. But if not, I will point you to the reviews of the other two Jennifer Scott novels that I can heartily recommend: The Sister Season and The Accidental Book Club.