The Saturday Night Supper Club – Carla Laureano – Tyndale – Published 6 February 2018
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?
The Saturday Night Supper Club is simply delicious. Perfectly put together, this book surprised and delighted me, made me incredibly hungry, had me swooning and craving best-friend chats over waffles and coffee, and made it all too easy to fall in love with the characters, the charming setting, and the beautiful writing of Carla Laureano.
Rachel Bishop has worked tirelessly all her life to realise her dreams of running and owning her own restaurant. But a scathing critique, an online essay follow up, and an ill-timed comment are all it takes to bring her dreams, and her reputation, crumbling down around her. Alex Kanin never meant for his essay on the downsides of social media to have such a negative impact on a chef’s career. Determined to atone for his part in the whole thing, Alex apologises and offers to make it up to Rachel. Together, they hatch the idea of a supper club, him the host, Rachel the chef. But neither plan on the effect their partnership will have, both professionally and personally.
This book made me very, very hungry. From the gorgeous cover and the first fast-paced kitchen scene to the supper clubs themselves, this whole book revels in food, glorious food. And served up with all that scrumptiousness is sweet romance, great friendship, and a little save-your-career drama. It all adds up to the perfect combination and The Saturday Night Supper Club is a wonderful story in which to sink. I really, truly loved it!
There is so much to love about this book. The food is obviously a standout. The author definitely knows her stuff, but the average reader (who loves to eat but may have no idea about any of the fancy French terms) won’t be left behind, even in Rachel’s first-class restaurant kitchen. I loved the glimpse we readers get into this world of fine dining and the men and women responsible for such amazing creations. Friendship also plays a huge role in this book thanks both to Alex and Rachel’s respective best friends. Never underestimate the value of an emergency ice cream conversation. There are also more personal layers to the story as Alex and Rachel slowly reveal the depths and hurts of their pasts and how this has impacted their more recent choices. Their growth is such an important part of this story. And then there is the romance. Sweet, glorious, seductive, romance. I’ll say no more. But, wow. Seriously.
The Saturday Night Supper Club effortless combines all these aspects and, just like a perfectly plated meal, also offers a little drama. I was surprised by the ending, which took a rather unexpected turn, I thought. It gave an added depth to the characters and the message of the book, and kept the pacing of the story just right.
This book could classify as Christian/inspirational fiction, but I believe it is accessible for and will be loved by all readers. Rachel and Alex share a common faith and their discussions about faith, and where God is leading them in their lives is a beautiful thread woven consistently throughout the background of this story. But the characters also remain realistic, honest, flawed, and upfront, which I loved.
This is the first book I have read by Carla Laureano, but I can guarantee that it will not be the last. And now I shall commence begging, because I desperately want there to be another book in this series. There is so much potential for more. Rachel’s two best friends, Ana and Melody, who play such important roles in this story, deserve to have their own books. And that would mean we readers would get to stay in contact with all these amazing characters.
The Saturday Night Supper Club is delightful in every way, and I loved reading every moment of this surprising and beautiful book. Very highly recommended.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Chefs, fine dining, restaurants, writing, writers, romance, food, friendship.
Published: 6 February 2018 by Tyndale House Publishers.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 416 pages.