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.