🥖 Q: if you’re celebrating, what restaurant do you go to? What do you love about it?
🦞 A: My fave place in Knoxville has a huge serving of lobster Mac & Cheese & it is divine.
KD Fisher’s The Secret Ingredient made me hungry. It also made me want to travel *stares wistfully out my window .
This is one of those books that’s less plot-driven, more character & setting-focused, & reading it felt cozy & occasionally steamy—a rather nice combo IMO.
Adah Campbell has just moved to Maine to be Head Chef at a fancy restaurant. Years ago, after accidentally becoming pregnant, she left her strict, super religious home & made a life for herself and her son. Serving as Head Chef is the opportunity she needs to provide for her family & to prove that she has what it takes.
Beth Summers is the owner & baker of The Yellow House, a more casual type of establishment that privileges local food & farmers & takes food & the people it can serve through food seriously.
Trope-wise, this book is a classic: opposites attract. Grumpy & the sunshine. But I love how original it is in Fisher’s hands.
The Secret Ingredient gets points for:
Adah’s cute accent, which is pervasive throughout the book. I don’t feel like I’ve often (ever?) seen an Ozarks dialect written in a romance before?
How ambitious & competitive both women are, in slightly different ways.
Steam, including the leads sharing forthrightly what they like & don’t like.
Beautiful descriptions of Maine life (I want to go to there.)
How soft Adah is underneath her reserved exterior. She’s so earnest & I love it (give me ALL the little signs of vulnerability 🤣).
This was a 4⭐️ read for me, a touching, soft read that also touches on some tough topics.
CW: references to past verbal & emotional abuse. In the present-day Adah still has physical & emotional responses that are affected by those past events.
4⭐️. The Secret Ingredient is out on 10/27. Thanks to Harlequin Publicity Team for the complimentary finished copy. All opinions provided are my own.
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