Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dining With Joy by Rachel Hauck

I hit the jackpot when I brought Dining With Joy along on our Christmas vacation. No, it’s not a seasonal novel—but it’s so much fun! A great getaway read.

Let's begin with the back cover copy:

"Chef" Joy Ballard longs for a simpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhattan restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.

Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy's secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.

But could Devine's cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke--and her sister--forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?

And now, my review:

God is good. God is love.

Those two phrases carry the heroine through some uncertain times. Great motto for readers too. Rachel excels with these Jesus-factor moments. I found myself applying this phrase to my own life a few times, between chapters.

Feeling is healing.

Don’tcha love when you unearth a shining nugget? The hero resists alcohol’s numbing effects and chooses to feel the pain of healing. Another motto for life.

Rachel Hauck’s blend of delicious romance (hello!) with recipes and setting rocked. Let’s camp on the romance a moment, shall we? Rachel has a knack for blending subtexts and passion in such a satisfying way. You’ll want this couple together.

I read a lot, especially romance. I have to say Rachel’s book is definitely near the top of my list of faves for 2010.

Don’t miss this great read. And feel free to devour it without having read the other two Lowcountry novels first. You won’t be lost.

Enjoy the romance, the quirky characters, the fun, the romance (*grin*), the cooking and the Jesus-factor.

Highly recommended!