Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Georgia's Kitchen

Summary: At thirty-three, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan's best restaurants; a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down; and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia's overbearing mother can't wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.

Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most important, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy's delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni—an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can't she say yes?

An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia's heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she'll need to stir up more than just courage if she's to realize her dreams and find her way home. -- Gallery

Three things I absolutely love are food, New York and Italy, so I admit to being drawn to GEORGIA'S KITCHEN by Jenny Nelson because it was a book about a chef who lives in New York and visits Italy. To make things even better, I thought the basic premise of GEORGIA'S KITCHEN sounded kind of cute -- almost a coming-of-age story for a woman in her 30s. A woman who seems to have it all -- a great job, supportive friends, and a dream job -- finds that her entire world falls apart when she receives a horrific newspaper review of her cooking. To add insult to injury, on the exact same day as the review, her fiance decides that he doesn't want to marry her. GEORGIA'S KITCHEN tells the story of how Georgia manages to bounce back from these events and truly realize what she wants out of her life.

I thought GEORGIA'S KITCHEN was a light, fun read. It had many elements of chick lit (not that there's anything wrong with that!) but there were a few themes that made it a more serious read. It definitely kept me entertained for a few hours, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that I loved it. I felt like the story and the characters were kind of predictable, but that's not a huge problem to me in a book like this. Overall, I'd say that I thought GEORGIA'S KITCHEN was a cute summer read, and I think many women will enjoy this story.

GEORGIA'S KITCHEN does include a lot of elements that define today's chick lit as well as current women's fiction. There is a likable (and relatively well-developed) character in Georgia, colorful supporting characters, romance, and even wonderful descriptions of food! However, there were some special things about GEORGIA'S KITCHEN that did make it stand out to me.

I really enjoyed that the book's setting alternated between New York City and Italy. I felt as if the author did a good job of capturing the essence of both places, I definitely liked all of the descriptions of the Italian countryside and the Italian delicacies. But what I most appreciated was how Georgia's character really began to shine (and mature) during her time in Italy.

Georgia is just a character that I think many women will relate to. (Even if you don't relate to her yourself, you will definitely see someone you do know in her character.) She is young and talented and seems to know what she wants out of life, but she is also somewhat unsure and even a little bit insecure. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for her, although at the same time, I was glad that her life turned upside down because I think it made her a better woman. She eventually learned, with the help of her wonderful friends, what she really wanted out of life. I felt as if GEORGIA'S KITCHEN demonstrated not only the resilience of women (and Georgia in particular), but also the importance of having loved ones' support in our lives.

There is a reading group guide available for GEORGIA'S KITCHEN, and I do think it would be a fun book to discuss with friends (especially if your group is looking for a lighter read.) Since such a big part of the story is about food and Italy, imagine how creative you could get at the meeting! Some of the themes in this novel besides food! are love, relationships, friendships, self-awareness, mother/daughter relationships, acceptance, perseverance, and living your dreams.

If you are a fan of light women's fiction or books about food and Italy, then I recommend giving GEORGIA'S KITCHEN a try!

Thanks to BookSparks PR for providing me with a copy of this novel.

Contest alert: Author Jenny Nelson is running a fabulous giveaway in concert with the release of GEORGIA'S KITCHEN. Click here for details.

When you order Georgia’s Kitchen the week of the book’s release and email your receipt to jennynelsonauthor@gmail.com, you’ll be entered to win this fantastic giveaway. Send in your receipt and you could win a basket full of books, magazines and foodie goodies, including:

Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis
After You by Julie Buxbaum
Super in the City by Daphne Uviller
She’s Gone Country and Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A one-year subscription to either: Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking or Everyday with Rachael Ray
A $50 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel


Becky said...

I have to RUN to find this book. Food, NY, & Italy?!? Yea, it does sound like a great combo. Thanks for the review. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Well, all I know is that if Gianni tempted ME to stay in Italy, it would take me less than a second to say yes! So I am curious as to why Georgia could not!

bermudaonion said...

There are times when a light, fun read is exactly what I need so this does sound appealing to me.

Sandy Nawrot said...

What is not to love here? And I think if I had my cooking slammed, and my fiance dumped me, I'd never come back. I've always thought I had Italian blood in me.

S. Krishna said...

I love books about food, so I'm glad I have this one to review. Thanks for the review!

Jesser said...

I found your site last week and I am already a big fan! I read constantly (mostly audio books since I have two young kids and a full time job!). I am going to love having a constant stream of new books to add to my list! Thanks so much for a great site!


Unknown said...

This sounds like a good book for reading when I'm in need of an enjoyable read that isn't too taxing and makes the hours go by! Like you, I love NY, food & Italy so that's a definite plus to this book.
I really appreciate your great, honest review, Julie.

` Amy

Unknown said...

New York, Italy and food? Count me in!

Great review!

Karlie said...

Three of my loves as well. This sounds like one I would enjoy ;)

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Oh wow. It sounds fabulous!

Amused said...

I love books that incorporate food like this...and travel! I'll be checking this one out!

Beth F said...

I've had mixed feelings about wanting to read this. I do love a foodie book but I never seem to like light womens/chick lit. Hummmm.