Genres: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Stacey Ballis cooks up a delicious broth of a novel about a woman whose perfect life falls apart in spectacular fashion--leaving her with a house to restore, an antique cookbook (but no cooking talent), and one very unhappy schnauzer. For fans of Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Emily Giffin. To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream. Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation. But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Emma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along…
“With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis’s writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious.”--Jen Lancaster
What’s not to love about a foodie/house rehab book? Anneke is very easy to cheer on as a main character who loses her job, and fiance in one day. I love reading about old houses and the people who once lived there. Anneke finds an old cookbook/journal and we get a glimpse of life, food and the past life in the old house that she is fixing up. I loved the schnauzer ( Anneke’s pet dog) , she hates Anneke but seems to love everyone else. Anneke’s relationship, or lack of, with her mother is sad and her grandmother was just so nasty to her as well! This character just had so much going against her in so many ways, at times I thought how can this happen, what more can go wring for her?!! Not to give too much away but I loved the surprise romance for Anneke and I thought that the ending of the book was exactly what I wanted for Anneke.