Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus

Menu for Romance

Menu for Romance
by Kaye Dacus

Trade Paperback: 317 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
First Released: 2009

Author Website

Source: ARC sent from Publisher

Back Cover Description:
Cater to your craving for fabulous fictional fare with Menu for Romance, where a party planner finds herself torn between the contractor and the cook. After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry makes a New Year's resolution to find someone new and end her single status before the year's over. And when she meets a handsome contractor on New Year's Day, it seems like her prayers have been answered. Executive Chef Major O'Hara has forsworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a schizophrenic mother like his. But when it seems he's about to lose Meredith Guidry to another man, he realizes he must concoct a menu for romance to win her back.

Menu for Romance is a contemporary Christian romance novel. The book is the second in a series, but you don't have to read the first book to understand and enjoy this one.

The characters were charming, interesting, and varied. Meredith went through realistic struggles, like wondering if something was wrong with her because guys didn't ask her out on dates and trying to find privacy in a large family that always seemed to know what she was doing.

The details about the town and job were nice and made the setting seem realistic. The pacing was excellent until the very end. In fact, I loved this book all the way up until the last thirty pages. However, the ending felt rushed to me as I didn't feel like previous problem issues had been fully resolved between the two main characters.

The characters were Christian, but the book wasn't preachy. It was just typical Christians living out their lives. Meredith's main struggle was with why God hadn't sent her the desire of her heart--a husband--while family members around her were getting married.

There was no cussing and no sex. Overall, the book was well-written and very enjoyable. I'd rate this as "good, clean fun."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Chapter One
“Happy New Year!”

Her thirty-fourth New Year and still no kiss at the stroke of midnight… or any other day or time. Meredith Guidry stood in the doorway leading into Vue de Ciel—the cavernous sky-view event venue at the top of the tallest building in downtown Bonneterre, Louisiana—and swallowed back her longing as she watched hundreds of couples kiss.

A short burst of static over the earpiece startled her out of her regrets.

“Mere, we’re going to set up the coffee stations and dessert tables,” the executive chef’s rich, mellow voice filled her ear.

She clicked the button on the side of the wireless headset. “Thanks, Major.” Turning her gaze back to the main room, she tapped the button again. “Let’s slowly start bringing the houselights back up. I want us at full illumination around twelve thirty.” She strolled into the ballroom, the floor now covered with shiny metallic confetti, the hundreds of guests milling about wishing each other a happy New Year. Out on the dance floor, a large group of men stood swaying, arms about shoulders, singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the tops of their lungs along with the jazz band.

“Let’s make sure tables are bussed.” Pressing her finger to the earpiece to speak over the network made her feel like those secret service agents in the movies who were always talking into their shirt cuffs. “I’m seeing several tables with empty plates and glasses.”

She kept to the perimeter of the room, doing her best to blend in with the starlit sky beyond the glass walls, barely repressing the feeling of being the loner, the kid no one else paid any attention to . . . the woman no man ever gave a second glance.

“You look like a kid staring through a candy store window, wishing you could go inside.”

Meredith’s heart thumped at the sudden voice behind her. She turned. Major O’Hara grinned his lopsided grin, his chef’s coat nearly fluorescent with its pristine whiteness.

“How’re you holding up?” He squeezed her shoulder in a brotherly way, his azure eyes gentle.

Read the rest of Chapter One.


Natalie said...

I liked the first book a lot. But, like you, I felt let down by the ending on this one.

[somewhat vague spoiler]
I felt like the author did a bait-and switch with Major. I thought his motives and fears were real, deep struggles (which I liked and added depth to the book), but at the end we find out they were really only petty, easily resolved reasons--just so the book could be wrapped up quickly with a neat, happy ending.
[end spoiler]

So it's a good, light romance. But don't expect something deep.

Genre Reviewer said...


[contains vague spoilers]
I was shocked to find out Major knew all along what Jenn found out on the computer, but I'm not sure every reader would assume what we did.

[contains major spoilers]
What I was referring to was how Meredith went from being very concerned about certain issues in Major's behavior toward her only to suddenly stop caring about them right at the end.

The reader gets to see him work through his hang-ups, but Meredith doesn't and has no firm reason to believe anything has lastingly changed. Yet she immediately agrees to marry him when he asks. That rush bothered me.
[end spoilers]

Maybe Kaye Dacus will put them in premarital counseling in her next book. ;) If not, their fictional marriage is going to be very rocky. But I suppose that's true for many fictional romance couples. Most people don't read romances hoping for a dose of reality.