Alice Ross is on the blog today with a new title that is full of laughter, friendship, and finding your path, even while led by a jumpy elderly greyhound. Please read on for my review of
The Cotswolds Cookery Club ~ Italy
Oh I loved this title – and believe me, if you can’t fall in love with an elderly greyhound who hides and jumps at EVERYTHING, needs a blanket fort to survive a storm, and has an instant attraction to a little flirty Jack Russel – you have no heart. And yes, there were people here too – from Connie, just turned 34 and is feeling her groundlessness from all corners: her mother’s constant reminders, her cheating ex, and the never-ending proofread that drags on, endlessly looming over her. When Connie’s best friend Anna calls with an offer to dog and house-sit while she and her husband spend half a year in Australia, she jumps at the chance to get away from her mother, her childhood bedroom and realign her life.
When Connie arrives in the hamlet of Little Bidington, the magic of the Cotswolds starts to improve her mood instantly. But this time is not all about relaxing: she’s got to finish a deadly-dull proofreading job (she’s a freelancer) and decide on a ‘real career” as her mother would call it. Still stinging from the breakup of her relationship and uninspired (and a bit lonely) with her work, she’s wanting to find her passion and make it pay. She’s always been a foodie: from a small childhood garden that she tended with care to collecting recipes, cookbooks and tasting experiences, an idea forms. So she collects the very reluctant Eric and heads out to the local newsagent with a card to advertise.
Here she meets Eleanor, the 60-something proprietress with her finger on the pulse (albeit quiet and reserved pulse) of the town, and an instant friendship is formed. Starting the cookery club is a simple idea – similar to a book club, only with food, friends and hopefully some instruction. Connie soon is introduced to the other two members: Kate and Melody, and a date and theme (Italian food) is set. The first meeting “At six fifty-two that evening, the doorbell chimed, causing Eric to vault two feet out of his basket – as usual – “ the ladies arrive with wine, good humor and plenty of bonhomie.
We get to see the four as they chop, stir, drink and share stories: from Eleanor’s history and changes since widowhood, Kate’s struggles with three unruly children and a mostly absent husband and Melody, beautiful, blonde struggling with people’s reactions to her marriage to an older, rich man. Through the story, we are treated to the women’s stories and struggles where the friendships grow and strengthen, and each gains a new confidence in their lives. From mouth-watering foods, great conversations and a few moments of romance as both Connie and Eric find love interests, although if I’m being fair, Connie’s is more of a rebound that oils the wheels and provides her with a shot of confidence. Through it all, Connie finds her passion reignited for food, and creates a blog that is quickly growing a following with her tales, recipes and tricks shared about food, the club and forming your own version. There was nothing truly groundbreaking here, not really: but Ross puts everything together with such flair and shows the growth and confidence of the characters, laughs from their conversations and Eric, and plenty of food to drool over – the story leaves us with options for many more books, a solid growth for Connie’s new ventures and plenty in store for the inaugural members of the club.
A quick read, this is engaging and wholly encompassing story presenting the honeyed stone Cotswolds and a few of its residents with style and heart, and makes me want more.
Title: The Cotswolds Cookery Club - Italy
Author: Alice Ross
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Food / Recipes, Romantic Elements
Published by: Harlequin UK
Published on: 21 July, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
…where the ingredients to happiness are found.
Connie has had enough. Enough of the city, enough of her job – and most importantly, enough of her cheating husband! So, when her best friend jets off to sunny Australia and calls on Connie to house and dog-sit, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
When Connie arrives at the gorgeous Cotswolds getaway, she can’t resist opening the doors to the town, offering up cooking lessons – and a lot of wine! Cue the three – very different – women who respond to Connie’s cookery club advert. But it’s soon clear they will need more than a glass of wine to overcome their problems…
Can Connie conjure up the right ingredients to help her new friends? And with two gorgeous men thrown in the mix, Connie may have just ended up with a recipe for disaster!
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: