Title: The Dish
Author: Stella Newman
Series: – –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.
When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she’s only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she’s been dating.
There’s just one problem. Adam’s job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.
Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?
And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you’re not quite telling the truth yourself?
Stella Newman. Fiction has never tasted so good.
Source: Review Copy via Amazon Vine
My thoughts as I was reading this book: Tell him. Go on, tell him. Oh, just tell him already. Teeeeeeeeeeeell him. Please, tell him. Oh, for goodness sake, just tell him! Argh, Laura! If you don’t tell him I’m going to stop reading right now, which would be a shame because… hang on, let me read a few more pages, but you better tell him soon or else…
Yes, this book is a minor exercise in frustration, because despite being a woman who hates secrets and lies, Laura is surprisingly eager to keep her own under wraps. And yet, at the same time, I really loved this book. Laura has good reasons for disliking secrets and lies, thanks to her cheating ex-husband and the for-the-best attempts of her family. In fact the fallout from both left her adrift for years, which led her into her current PA job for the editor of a current affairs magazine, which also led to her taking on the anonymous role of their food critic. She’s qualified to do bigger and better things – mostly with coffee – but she likes her job and has no plans on changing.
Then comes the awful night at LuxEris, shortly followed up by her desperate donut meeting with Adam, and everything just sort of spirals from there. Not that this is a quick read. Instead it’s a little slow on pace as we follow Laura through her daily life, often speckled with fun emails from friends and family, and frequently luxuriating in food and drink and luscious descriptions. Don’t read this book if you are hungry, because it’ll make it all worse.
I didn’t mind the pace, though. In fact I loved the steady build throughout the book, peppered as it is with warmth and humour and hints of romance, not to mention family tensions and the mystery of strange behaviour and paranoid thinking. Laura is a great lead character – she’s funny and smart, but a little suspicious of everything and still carrying the damage from the fallout of her marriage. It’s clear that things with Adam are far from ideal, but as much as I was willing Laura to tell him, I was likewise wanting to grab Adam and find out what was going on.
But while I was waiting for that, I got to enjoy wonderful friendships, a pitiful dog, a torturous exercise class (I’d rather be a wolverine than a wolf any day, they’re cousins to honey badgers), food, food and more food, an education in coffee, some slap-dash dates, office politics and a glorious weekend away with a landscape description that was just beautiful. There are also moments of tough emotion and even though I could see one part of the plot coming from a mile off, didn’t mean if didn’t still hit hard.
Steady of pace and with moments of frustration (tell him, tell him now!), this is nevertheless funny and warm and emotional and enjoyable. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, you won’t find it here. However, if you want something to make you laugh (and maybe even cry a little), which you can savour over several nights, then this is definitely worth a shot. If you happen to like food as well, then enjoy! I certainly did.
The Dish is Out Now!
Visit Stella Newman for more details.