~ About the Book ~
Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.
Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.
Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 6 February 2018
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
~ Excerpt ~
Rachel set the tablet down carefully, her pounding pulse leaving a watery ocean sound in her ears and blurring her vision. “This is bad.”
“He didn’t mention you by name,” Ana said. “And he was defending you. You have to appreciate a guy who would call Espy out on his disgusting sexism.”
Rachel pressed a hand to her forehead, which now felt feverish. “Anyone with a couple of free minutes and a basic understanding of Google could figure out who he’s talking about.” A sick sense of certainty washed over her. “Espy knows it, too. Without this article, his review would have died a natural death. He should have been thanking me.”
Cautiously, Ana took back her tablet. “I’m hoping people will overlook the details based on the message, but just in case, you should inform your staff to direct media requests to me.”
“Media.” Rachel covered her face with her hands, as if that could do something to stave off the flood that was to come.
“Take a deep breath,” Ana said, her no-nonsense tone firmly in place. “This could be a good thing. You’ve told me about the difficulty women have in this business, the kind of harassment you’ve put up with to get here. Maybe this is your chance to speak out against it. You’d certainly get wider attention for the restaurant, not that it looks like you’re having any trouble filling seats.”
Rachel dropped her head into her folded arms. What Ana said was right. It would be publicity. But despite the old saying, it wasn’t the right kind of publicity. She wanted attention for her food, not for her personal beliefs. To give this any kind of attention would be a distraction. And worst of all, it would make her a hypocrite. Playing the gender card for any reason—even a well-meaning one—went against everything she stood for.
“No,” she said finally, lifting her head. “I won’t. I’ll turn down all the interviews with ‘no comment’ and get back to doing what I do best. Cooking.”
“I thought you’d say that. I’ll issue a statement to that effect. Just be prepared. Reporters can be relentless when they smell an interesting story.” Ana hopped off the stool. “I’m beat. Call me if you need me.”
“I will.” She hugged Ana and watched her friend stride out the door, five-inch heels clicking smartly on the dining room’s polished concrete floors. Rachel didn’t move from her perch at the bar, though she was glad that Luis was already gone for the night. He would take one look at her and pronounce her in desperate need of a drink. The last thing she needed to do was send herself down that unwitting spiral again.
Instead, she would head to her office in the back as she always did, look over the pars that Andrew had calculated for her that morning, and pay the stack of invoices waiting in her in-box. Work was always the medicine for what ailed her, even if she was hoping that for once, her gut feeling was wrong.
Because right now, her gut told her everything was about to go sideways.
Taken from “The Saturday Night Supper Club” by Carla Laureano. Copyright © 2018.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
~ Review ~
I love it when a story completely immerses the reader in the character’s world, and that is exactly what happens in The Saturday Night Supper Club. I’m not a foodie, but I totally felt like one while I was reading this novel. And it wasn’t just the food, it was the whole life of an award-winning chef—one I’m definitely not cut out for, I might add! And one Rachel begins to re-think in the aftermath of that article.
I loved Rachel and Alex: flawed, but also resilient, honourable, personable, and even flirty as they got to know each other better. Their relationship developed very organically, almost without calling attention to itself, which is my favourite way for a romance to develop. But it also became the catalyst for each of them—particularly Rachel—to take a deeper look at themselves and peel back layers they weren’t even aware of, allowing them to see life with new eyes. It’s that kind of ‘iron sharpening iron’ reciprocity in a relationship that makes a romance deeply satisfying for me, and this book had it in spades, not to mention some delicious swoony moments along the way. And the way in which Rachel’s cooking and Alex’s writing worked together to bring all this about was pure poetry, considering the way their relationship started.
Foodie or not, this is definitely a book worth savouring!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Guest Post from Carla Laureano ~
I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.
It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.
It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.
Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.
All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.
Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.
And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.
It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.
In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.
~ About the Author ~
Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
~ Giveaway ~
To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c9b4