A local club owner helps a recently fired sous-chef get revenge on her boss.
Liv Papandreas puts up with a lot from her boss at Nashville’s hottest restaurant—Royce is verbally abusive and takes credit for his staff’s recipes—but the final straw is when she witnesses him sexually harassing and groping a hostess in his office. After Liv is fired, she vows to bring his abuse to light. Her unlikely ally is Braden Mack, her brother-in-law’s charmingly smarmy friend. Mack is outraged when he hears about Royce’s actions; he wonders why he never noticed the man’s predatory behavior, and he enlists the other men in his romance-reading book club to help Liv bring Royce to justice. Their shock at Royce's actions might strike readers as naïve; on the other hand, Liv and Mack’s decision to go after Royce without consulting lawyers or the police is both inexplicable and reckless. After an overly long setup, the revenge plot is put on hold to develop the wan romance between Liv and Mack. Neither of them trust emotional entanglements, so they agree to a no-strings affair while they use Mack’s superficial knowledge of romantic suspense to figure out how to bring Royce’s misdeeds to light. Adams (The Bromance Book Club, 2019, etc.) clearly intends for Royce to be a Harvey Weinstein–like figure: He threatens to end Liv’s career, orders his thugs to follow Liv and Mack, and pays off the many women he has harassed. Unfortunately, the tone of the novel reduces #MeToo to a madcap caper, including fart jokes, traffic jams, and macho posturing. The victims of Royce’s sexual harassment are used as a plot device, allowing Liv, Mack, and the other book club members to swoop in and save the day.
A romance attempting to tackle #MeToo misses the mark.