Allie Smith's Reviews > When in Doubt, Add Butter

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
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Sep 11, 12

bookshelves: fiction-chicklit
Read from August 26 to September 02, 2012

Really, a 3.5. I thought this was an interesting book. I bought it because Beth Harbison wrote it (I LOVED Always Something There to Remind Me) and let’ face, the cover is gorgeous! My kids thought it was a cookbook and kept asking me when I was going to bake them cupcakes. The heroine, Gemma, is a chef, so there’s quite a bit of food and cooking throughout the book - don’t read it when you’re hungry. Foodies, who love a good story, will be thrilled.

Gemma is a personal chef for five different households, one for each evening of the week. On the weekends, she caters parties at a country club. Basically she has no life, and that’s the way she wants it. I wasn’t sure where the author was going to go since there’s so much focus on Gemma’s work. Much of the beginning of the book is about the families whom she cooks for. Harbison cleverly manages to describe each family through their menu choices, each one being peculiar in their own way.

Pretty early in the story, Gemma gets fired by one of the families, which ends up giving her a rare night off. She goes out with a girlfriend, has too much to drink, meets a guy, one thing leads to another…and a mystery man is born.

Through a series of slightly unbelievable mishaps, Gemma and her mystery man are unable to reconnect. Their encounter leaves her realizing she wants more out of her life, just about the time her professional life starts to fall apart. Then her two worlds collide. In all honestly, I figured out who the mystery man was pretty early, but it really didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. Gemma is an interesting, albeit lonely person. Events in Gemma’s past have left her with some serious scars, so she’s always turned to her work for escape. When she can no longer hide behind her work, Gemma's finally able to take the steps she needs to heal.

The supporting characters in the story are unique and interesting (to say the least). I liked learning about the families she worked for, even if I really couldn’t understand how she could work for some of them! But I guess a paycheck is a paycheck.

Fun book, with a come-full-circle ending .
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