Blue Plate Special

Blue Plate Special : A Novel of Love, Loss, and Food

Frances Norris

Julia Daniel is a food-stylist who really wants to be a photographer, and who has recently lost her father and stepmother in a plane crash (her mother had died years before), which event spurs her to examine her life. She hates her boss, she’s not dating, and she’s unsatisfied with her career, all of which are fairly typical for fictional characters in their thirties.

But while Blue Plate Special does include the usual chick-lit standards of the perfect guy and the supportive friend, as well as the mother-surrogate from childhood friend, it strays from the genre in that the happy ending is still a bit out of reach at the end of the novel – it will come, but not instantly.

While I enjoyed the book, I’m really bored with women in books who are only happy when in a relationship, not just happy in themselves.

The Child Goddess

The Child Goddess

Louise Marley

In The Child Goddess Louise Marley introduces us to a future in which the Catholic Church, bowing to peer pressure, and the need for clergy to serve on Earth and various other worlds, has allowed an order of female priests, the Magdalenes, celebate Enquirers who have accepted Mary of Magdala as Christ’s first disciple.

Despite that, it’s not a religious novel, as much as it is a good first contact story. A power company on an obscure, mostly-oceanic world discovers an island of lost children, remnants of a 300 year old colony. There’s the inevitable skirmish, and one child is brought home to Earth, where Isabel, the Magdalene priest who is the lead character, is assigned as guardian, and with the help of a friend (which backstory, I’m hoping, is in one of the other books in this series) discovers the truth of the girl’s life and culture.

It’s an excellent novel as a stand-alone, and I enjoyed it as much for the plot as for Marley’s feminist sensibilities with regard to Catholocism.

I look forward to visiting her work again, in the future.

Peach Cobbler Murder

Peach Cobbler Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes (Hannah Swansen Mysteries)

Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swenson owns a bakery called The Cookie Jar in a fictional town in Minnesota, and when she’s not pushing sugar, she solves crimes. The formula for a Culinary Mystery is not new: cozy murder mystery combined with a cookbook, but unlike Diane Mott Davidson’s tales, the mystery here is predictable, and the text is desperate for a good editor.

I confess that the book did inspire the need to make cobbler (mine was strawberry), and the recipe worked, for the most part, but I find it jarring to have the recipes within the chapters, and not grouped together at the end.