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by Megan Caldwell
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I really enjoyed this book. Megan Caldwell wrote a funny, touching story that took you through Molly's personal growth. I highly recommend it. ( )
cute. I enjoyed the literature/food references. The main character and the author both enjoy romance novels so that tone is there; it was kind of like 50 shades of proust. haha. overall, an easy, entertaining read. No real suprises plot-wise but a cute quasi-survival-story of a recently divorced single mom.
The library had labelled my copy as "romance" - maybe they'd run out of "chick lit" stickers. On the other hand, I was listening to a BBC book show discussion of romance literature the other day and all the romance writers and researchers seemed to agree that the one common feature that united the diverse 'romance' genre was the happy ending. On that basis, Vanity Fare is definitely in the romance category - and that's its big problem. Much of the book is quite good reading: many realistic characters in kind-of-believable situations with an interesting underlying story (who's not interested in food?) containing plenty of sub-plot but not too complex. The self-actualization element (which I reckon is one of the defining aspects of the 'chick lit' genre) was presented in an up-front but not too obtrusive way (IMHO...but other reviewers disagree!).
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.Lattes! Books! New York City! I felt I couldn’t go wrong with Megan Caldwell’s Vanity Fare, a novel that promised witty literary references with a side of scones (man, I love scones). But in the end? I couldn’t help but feel like I’d prepared to tuck into a really great piece of pie and found myself handed slimy kidney beans instead. They were filling, yes . . . but not what I’d been craving.
Now that 40-year-old Molly Hagan is staring down the barrel of impending financial insecurity, a writing gig penning food-related copy for a new bakery seems like the answer to her fervent prayers. She can keep her 6-year-old son fed, care for her bankrupt mother and begin to rebuild post-divorce.
The job working with Simon, a handsome pastry chef expanding into the American market, starts out a little rocky — especially when the charming Brit can’t help but flirt with Molly, who tries hard to project polish and professionalism. But soon business tensions, divorce tensions and sexual tension with another man — the stoic but secretly warmhearted Nick, an assistant of Simon’s — threatens to boil over. And Molly must figure out how to keep it all together.
So, starting with the good, the New York setting and encroaching restaurant opening — near the New York Public Library! — was delightful. I loved the sights and smells depicted in the city, even if Molly seemed to spend half the book riding the subway to meet business associates. Seriously, why all the subway talk? I guess we’re supposed to get that Molly is a Working Mom, you know, and it’s not easy for her to bop around Manhattan like all these other unattached wealthy nitwits. But by the third or fourth depiction of Molly donning a black outfit and commuting from the suburbs, I started to feel a little stabby.
Much of this book, in fact, made me feel stabby. Simon was a jerk. Nick was . . . well, not really a jerk, but still not someone I could tolerate for very long. Nondescript. Vanity Fare had promise but could have chopped off a good fourth of the story, and Molly’s time talking to a therapist was so tedious. Overall, it was just long. And unsatisfying.
I did narrowly finish, mostly due to the setting and foodie talk, but didn’t feel anything for Molly. We just never gelled. And because I never bonded with her or felt interested in her journey, most of the book began to feel like a slog. It was all just . . . eh. A room-temperature glass of milk.
But stars for food-related copy that begins each chapter: Yeast of Eden, Tart of Darkness. Though it wasn’t enough to save this one for me, I definitely dug the creativity.
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.This was a good chic lit type of story. I enjoyed it.
Vanity Fare is a charming tale of food, family, literature, and romance in which a 40-year-old newly single Brooklyn mother embarks on a culinary writing career and finds herself at the center of a deliciously tempting love triangle. Molly Hagan--"a heroine who's wittier than Ellen DeGeneres on speed" (New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries) is overwhelmed. Her cheating husband left her for a younger blonde, her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and she's starting a job as a copywriter for a local Brooklyn bakery. She doesn't need the complications of a new love. But the bakery's sexy British pastry chef is determined to win her heart. And there is his intimidating and oh so irresistible business partner...who happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After. Funny and sweet, Megan Caldwell's charming romantic novel includes five delicious recipes developed with the pastry chef from Union Square Café.
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Megan Caldwell's book Vanity Fare was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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