Local chef/novelist Susan Volland has whipped up a frothy chick lit tale set in Seattle, following the success of her earlier "Love and Meatballs"...
“Cooking for Mr. Right”
by Susan Volland
New American Library, 240 pp., $12.95
Local chef/novelist Susan Volland has whipped up a frothy chick lit tale set in Seattle, following the success of her earlier “Love and Meatballs” (which also has, as the title suggests, a culinary/romance theme).
This time, Volland introduces us to Kate Linden, a 26-year-old sous-chef at a trendy Seattle eatery. A venturesome free spirit, Kate has refused several proposals from her now ex-boyfriend Gaston, whose penchant for orderliness suggests that this wouldn’t be a match made in heaven.
But when she gets a phone call from Gaston, telling her he is about to marry a young schoolteacher whom he has just met, Kate’s emotions go into the food processor. She decides not only that Gaston was the one for her after all, but also that he just might be her last and only chance at a wedding ring.
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The author of “Cooking for Mr. Right” will discuss her book at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 11, at Barnes & Noble University Village (206-517-4107) and at 3 p.m., Aug. 21, at Queen Anne Books (206-283-5624 or www.queenannebooks.com).
A woman of action, Kate decides to win Gaston back. No matter how many fibs she has to tell, she’s going to get her man: She gets Gaston’s devious mother on her side, and she quits her restaurant job after an altercation with her boss. In short, she becomes less and less like the real Kate, ignoring advice from her own sympathetic mom and manipulating others in a way that bodes ill for her future.
Volland’s own extensive culinary experience heats up the scenes of Kate in the kitchen, and informs Kate’s qualms about the value of dishing up fancy menus for the wealthy as a way of life. The Northwest background adds a little extra zest, as do the subsidiary characters. (Gaston’s fiancée is such a dizzy lightweight that you suspect she requires a tether to keep her earthbound, just like a Goodyear blimp.) It’s all good fun, even though you may wonder why Kate is so desperate to win back Gaston: Nobody ever said love was rational.
Melinda Bargreen is The Seattle Times music critic.