Dianne Blacklock- The Secret Ingredient
Source- review copy/ Pan Macmillan AU
Synopsis: Taste was such an evocative sense; Andie had closed her eyes, with the scone melting in her mouth, and been transported back to her grandmother’s kitchen…
Nourishment is nurture. That’s what Andie learned from her grandmother and what she’s always believed about cooking. But somehow, since marrying Ross, she’s allowed her love of food to take a back seat and given up her dream of becoming a chef.
Lately she’s been craving more. And when her marriage falls apart, she’s determined to find herself again and take back control of her destiny.
The first step is taking a job in the kitchen of renowned chef Dominic Gerou. The brooding Englishman is more than Andie bargains for, but the new Andie is ready for anything, even a bad-tempered chef who makes it clear he won’t tolerate mistakes.
In this beautiful new novel, Dianne Blacklock takes us on a sumptuous journey of the heart as Andie uncovers the secret ingredient for her new life, and shows that no matter how many false starts you may have, if you hold on to your passion and your dreams, anything is possible.
Review: The Secret Ingredient is the first novel I have read by Australian author Dianne Blacklock. Now that I have a taste for her contemporary fiction I will definitely explore more of her work.
Andie thought she had found the love of her life when she met Ross, a man more than ten years her senior. Of course he was still married at the time, but he reassured her that the marriage had been over for years. Andie, now a thirty-something woman married to Ross for ten years comes home to find he has traded her in for a younger woman. The sacrifices and losses she has experienced since she started a life with Ross come to the forefront and she realises it is time to reinvent herself and follow her dream to become a chef. Andie takes on a job at the exclusive restaurant, Viande where she meets the mysterious head chef, Dominic Gerou.
Andie is a strong character who has experienced significant losses, but she has her weaknesses which make her easy to relate to and understand.
Ross irritated me throughout the entire novel. He was selfish, arrogant and controlling. It seemed that both women who left him ended up becoming stronger women who learnt to value themselves for their own merit and worth.
Andie and Dominic’s relationship is quite sweet and natural and just seemed to go at the right pace given the external issues happening in the book. I enjoyed their connection and his caring, gentle nature was a nice compliment to Andie following her relationship with Ross.
This is a lovely story about relationships, family, love and loss. Blacklock found a nice balance between exploring the hardships the characters face and providing them with new pathways to heal and grow. I actually read this book over several days, because I enjoyed picking it up at different times and finding out what happened next in the characters’ lives.
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