Mary Kay Andrews is another fabulous southern writer to grace her pages with stories of strong female characters who find themselves in a little bit of trouble. This is the first book I have read from her and I plan to continue with many more. This was also the first book that I ever listened to on CD, when I was taking a horrendous road trip in the rain from my home in Virginia to Cleveland (the actual visit itself was great, mind you, but the 9-hour drive on the turnpike…not so fun.) I would still definitely prefer to physically read the book, but nonetheless it was a great way to pass the time.
Gina Paxton, chef and local Georgian celebrity, thinks that her life could not possibly sink any lower when she finds out that her beautiful boyfriend has been cheating on her. But then, to make matters worse, her television cooking show gets cancelled—because, of course, her boyfriend is also the producer, and his mistress is the wife of the show’s sponsor. Enter scandal! So now she is left single and unemployed and wondering what is left of her once seemingly perfect life.
All hope is lost until Gina learns that the Cooking Channel is interested in featuring her in her own national show! Gina thinks this could be the start of her new life of fame, but the real kicker comes when she finds out the network is also interested in another chef, the rugged Tate Moody. The producers are torn between which cook to sponsor, so they come up with a entertaining way to determine the winner: “fight til the death cook-off” in the form of a reality show with the grand prize of the primetime slot. Gina and Tate become arch enemies, sabotaging one another for the sake of the win. But no one can deny the underlying attraction and sexual tension between the two. Will they let their feelings get in the way of competition? And who will win the ultimate show?
This story is a little different from what I normally read. It is about a specific event, rather than a character’s life as a whole. With our country’s obsession with reality tv, it is a relevant topic and I think brings a lot of truth to the area. I enjoyed the book itself but I must admit I wasn’t thrilled with the audio reading. The orator gave “voices” to each character which I really could have done without. Not to mention her voice for the gay, black hairdresser was incredibly stereotypical. I will probably stay away from audiobooks in the future, except in a case like this where I am traveling a long distance by myself. It is a convenient way to get through a novel and to keep you from falling asleep at the wheel, but I prefer my reading to be done silently, in my head.
According to her website, Andrews has written nine novels, most of which have been New York Times best-sellers, as well as an additional ten under her true name of Kathy Hogan Trocheck (Andrews is her pen name.) Which ones have you read and would recommend?