Friday 16 September 2011

Book ~ "Beauty and the Feast" (2011) Julia Barrett

From Amazon ~ Eva Raines is an uncomplicated country girl who's all about food. Eva moves to the Napa Valley where her culinary skills come to the attention of the owners of a start-up, All Things to All People, and Eva finds her niche as a personal chef. Now all she needs is a man as perfect as her cooking but she has serious doubts that such a creature exists. When wealthy entrepreneur, winery owner, and noted lothario, Gabriel Abbott, makes plans to seduce his flavor of the month, his assistant hires All Things to All People to cater a gourmet dinner. Eva expects to use her way with food to showcase the start-up. What she unexpectedly discovers is that her culinary skills showcase far more. Once Gabriel finds himself seduced by Eva's voice and the sensual flavors and textures of her food, his previous plans are quickly forgotten. He begins to obsess about meeting his little chef in person. But when Eva and Gabe finally come face to face, the question is, how hot will their fire burn?

Though I didn't enjoy this book, I did manage to finish it.

The story was silly. Wealthy Gabe has dated a lot of women and doesn't stay with them very long before moving on. He and Stephanie have been dating and he plans on seducing her for the first time (she's very willing). Gabe hires a catering company to prepare the meal for this date and Eva is the chef. Gabe and Eva (who is sooooo innocent and naive) speak on the phone about the meal and each are immediately smitten. On the basis of this phone call, Gabe breaks it off with Stephanie. He just happens upon Eva the next day (they meet face-to-face) and that's it. Within three weeks despite the discovery of a brother, the illness of a friend and a dastardly deed of Stephanie (who acts like woman scorned), they are in love and engaged.

But I shouldn't have been surprised considering the author provided this introduction:

I believe in love at first sight. I’m convinced each of us does indeed have a soul mate. We may not always be so lucky as to find them in our lifetime, but that doesn’t negate my belief in them. My husband and I knew each other for fourteen years before we married. During those fourteen years, we spent perhaps a total of five weeks in each other’s company. There were two extended periods of time, one period that lasted for three years and another for six years, during which we had no contact whatsoever. Yet, when I received a phone call at 2 a.m. and the man I loved but hadn’t seen or heard from in six years asked if he could come see me, I answered yes without hesitation.

Eight hundred miles later, he emerged from his vehicle, took me in his arms and carried me off to bed. That same day, he asked me to marry him. It’s been twenty-six years and we’ve never looked back. Still in love, still soul mates.

Besides the silly story, the writing is horrible. Here's an example of a dialog ...

“I’d be honored. In fact, I was wondering if you’d attend an event with me this Friday. It’s right up your alley. It’s a catered dinner to thank the major donors for the Ride for Sight. One of the sponsors is hosting. Will you come with me?”

“Um … You mean like a date?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

“I’d like to, but Gabe, I guess I’m kind of a jeans and flip-flops girl. Do you know what everyone will be wearing?” Eva sounded a little nervous.

“Got a little black dress? You know, that proverbial little black dress I always see discussed in women’s magazines?” Gabe would offer to buy her a dress but he knew she’d be insulted.

“You read women’s magazines?”

“Only when I’m stuck in a waiting room,” Gabe said defensively, a hint of laughter in his voice. “It’s not like they have The New Yorker or The Wall Street Journal in dentists’ offices.”

“That’s true. Although my dentist here in Napa actually has a bookcase filled with novels. The last time I was there, I became so engrossed in one that she gave it to me.”

“Which one?” Gabe asked.

“The dentist or the novel?”

“The novel.”

“The Persian Boy. It’s a good book. I finished it in two days.”

“What’s it about?”

“You can read it for yourself. It’s sitting on my dresser.”

Engrossing or what?! NOT!

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