Title: Comfort Food
Author: Kate Jacobs
Release Date: April 7, 2009
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
Shortly before turning 50, TV cooking show personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson discovers that the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming her with a beautiful, young new co-host. But Gus isn’t going without a fight—whether it’s off-set with her two demanding daughters, on-camera with the ambitious new diva herself, or after-hours with Oliver, the new culinary producer who’s raising Gus’s temperature beyond the comfort zone. Now, in pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus might be able to rejuvenate more than just her career.
I’ve become familiar with Kate Jacobs through The Friday Night Knitting Club and its sequel, Knit Two [review]. But I hadn’t gotten around to Comfort Food, the book Jacobs wrote in between, because I’d heard that it simply wasn’t as good. Now I wish I hadn’t let that information stop me because I honestly think Comfort Food might have been better than Jacobs’ other novels.
Like the FNKC series, Comfort Food is about the lives of different people that are connected somehow. There were some differences though. By the title, people would assume that the characters in the novel came together over their love of food, which isn’t the case. Only a few of the characters are actually cooks/chefs; Gus’ daughters couldn’t really care less about food and are sometimes exasperated by their mother’s fame. Gus’ best friend Hannah only eats candy bars and has a secret that keeps her living a hermit lifestyle. And the executives running Gus’ show and making changes behind her back don’t seem to know the first thing about cooking!
What brought these characters together then? Well, a love for Gus, for many of them, and also a desire to do what is necessary in order to move forward in life and succeed. I liked the way that adversity brought them together rather than choice; it added a whole new dimension to the book and also gave a lot of opportunity for character development. In their own way, each character in Comfort Food was pushed outside his or her comfort zone and made to cope with their new circumstances.
The ending of Comfort Food is sappy and tied together a little too neatly. The inevitable personality turnaround of one of the main characters seemed a little hurried, but overall it was a very satisfying ending.
I really enjoyed Comfort Food; it surprised me in a lot of ways, not the least of which was how much it sucked me in. I definitely recommend it to any fans of women’s fiction; this is a fun read that will just make you want more!
A big thank you to Melissa at Penguin Books for sending me this book to review!