Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Serving of Scandal by Prue Leith

4 Star

Kate McKinnon is thirty-six and mother to Toby. She used to be a restaurant chef but that all stopped when Toby - now five - came along and changed everything. Now she has a small but thriving business catering for private clients, companies and some government departments. Her life is on an even keel. Then she gets a job cooking lunch at the Foreign Office and has her first fateful meeting with Oliver Stapler, Secretary of State. He’s married and a father and totally out of bounds, yet she falls for him. She thinks she’s hiding it beautifully, but there are people who would like to see her fail and to them her feelings are all too transparent. When someone alerts the gutter press, who cares whether Kate’s affair with Oliver is true or not? It’s a great story and will shift a ton of newspapers - and destroy several lives at the same time.

Lydia - 4 Star

First, please do not judge this book by its cover!  I did.  And I was wrong.  Whoever designed this one was way off or if the publisher is trying to package chick lit in a different way, this is definitely not the way to go.  A Serving of Scandal sat in my to be read pile for ages before I finally picked it up, but I was pleasantly surprised when I did. 

Now the cover doesn’t really work because the photo of the woman along with the title had me expecting something more, well, Harlequin I guess, which really isn’t to my taste. But when I finally sat down to indulge in a little scandal I discovered the main character, Kate McKinnon, is an average woman. She’s a single mum to five year old Toby, heads her own catering company and barely has a moment to sleep, let alone time for romance.

When Kate is hired by the Foreign Office to cook, she finds herself befriended by the very married Secretary of State. It’s because he’s off limits that she doesn’t think anything of it, but later when she discovers she has developed feelings for him, her name is flashing all across the news.  She’s having an affair with The Secretary of State.  Only she actually isn’t.   

I found the political and celebrity gossip storyline interesting, especially as it explored how innocent people can be destroyed by the lack of empathy regarding whether the rumours they spread are even true. I liked how we were given Oliver’s side of the story through his own narrative and enjoyed how bumbling and na├»ve he was, which was also different to what I expected from this novel.

Kate’s job was different from the usual chef angle and showed how much work catering really is, especially as a single mother and how much work being a single mother is. Period. And the food had me drooling on every other page.

The friendship she had with Talika was warm and heartfelt and I loved how they were continually helping each other out with their businesses or kids and that Talika’s husband was so kind and protective of Kate.  It was such a lovely relationship and portrayed so well in the novel.

A Serving of Scandal was an interesting, easy read and one I wish had been ‘packaged’ differently.  This is one Kathryn probably should have read because I’m sure she would have loved it (and may still yet when get around to it). 

I would definitely pick up another by Prue Leith!

Thank you to McArthur and Company for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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