Taste

A LOVE STORY

A charming, engrossing story of love lost and eventually found.

A novel about family, personal development, and whether true love can overcome deep-rooted emotional damage.

Kara Malendar is a notoriously tough food critic at the Los Angeles Times who’s proud of her reputation. Her job requires a hard outer shell, and after growing up under public scrutiny as the daughter of a U.S. senator, she’s made sure to build a shell that’s triple-reinforced. But when Kara is assigned a feature on Logan Rye, the owner of popular new restaurant The Yard, she’s terrified that the vulnerable person she’s been hiding beneath all that armor will be exposed. Logan is an earthy, passionate, and benevolent chef who believes in humanely produced food and sustainability. He grew up on his father’s farm, where he now sources much of his restaurant’s produce and meat, and he prides himself on taking care of his family after his mother left them. When Kara shows up at his front door to interview him, he’s worried that the life he worked so diligently to create for himself will crumble. It turns out that they first met in Paris while studying at Le Cordon Bleu for a semester—but there, Logan knew her as “Winnie Parker,” the identity she briefly adopted so she could pretend that she wasn’t living in the fishbowl of high society. Unbeknownst to each other, they were the loves of each other’s lives, and their attraction hasn’t waned. As they reignite their romance, both characters reckon with the family trauma that first drove them apart—and whether or not they can deal with ingrained fears of abandonment and rejection. Ewens (Candidate, 2015, etc.) delivers a story that’s equally sensual and smart. The author volleys deftly between Kara’s and Logan’s perspectives, in both the past and the present, with beautiful pacing, revealing plenty of secrets and cliffhangers along the way. The story is full of richly conceived characters and offers brief glimmers of insight into differences between the sexes. It also depicts a foodie world that’s as authentic and intriguing as the people in it.

A charming, engrossing story of love lost and eventually found.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9908571-5-0

Page Count: 318

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2015

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A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Awards & Accolades

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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