Monday, 31 December 2012

Books Read: Dana Bate - The Secret Supper Club

If twenty-six-year-old Hannah Sugarman had her way, she'd be whipping up carrot cakes and running her culinary empire. Instead, she spends her hours cooking up papers on the financial crisis. It doesn't help that no one in her life takes her passion seriously - not even her boyfriend. 

When her relationship implodes, Hannah decides to jump-start her life by hosting a secret supper club out of her landlord's flat. Her underground operation presents some problems. Running an unlicensed restaurant out of someone's home is not, technically speaking, legal. 

As the success of Hannah's supper club grows, so do the number of secrets she is forced to keep. Can Hannah keep her pop-up restaurant underground? When mysterious guests turn up for dinner, can she handle the heat? Or will she have to step out of the kitchen? A charming romantic comedy, The Secret Supper Club is a story about finding yourself, fulfilling your dreams, and falling in love along the way.

As 2012 was my first full year of blogging I set myself several book-related resolutions, one of which was to read as many books by debut authors as I can and The Secret Supper Club is the last review of 2012 that falls into this category.

Hannah Sugarman is living the dream life... living with her boyfriend Adam in Washington and working in the financial district compiling currency reports for her boss Mark.... except it's not her dream life it's the one her parents want her to lead as they arranged the job for her and Adam hasn't even told his parents they're living together yet!

If Hannah had her way she'd be cooking for a living but she doesn't want to upset her parents, who'd rather she went to Grad school and take up an academic career, so she settles for her boring day job and keeps her cooking for her spare time instead.   

When Adam ends their relationship Hannah finds herself having to look for a new apartment, eventually renting the basement apartment from landlord Blake.  With her self-esteem at an all-time low she finds herself agreeing when her friend Rachel suggests she set up a Secret Supper Club from the apartment, even though it's not strictly legal, after all what can go wrong as she loves cooking.  But this is when the fun really starts...   

I'm sure that most of us can relate to Hannah's predicament about wanting to please others and not necessarily doing what we want, I know I've certainly been guilty of this in the past.  I really enjoyed seeing how Hannah's confidence was restored, despite a few hiccups along the way, and seeing certain characters get the comeuppance they so richly deserved.

The one thing I'd say about this book is don't read this if you're hungry as you'll soon find yourself salivating at the descriptive writing of the feasts that Hannah prepares for her suppers... One of the things I've been craving in the last couple of days is Cinnamon Buns so I had to buy one today for breakfast... last splurge before diet starts tomorrow!

This was a really enjoyable, funny, debut read and I cannot wait to see what Dana has in store for us next.

I'd like to thank Emily at Constable & Robinson for sending me a proof copy of this book to review.  

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