Saturday, 31 January 2015

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad

Tak one lovely young woman.
          Add two ambitious young men.
                    Stir… and stand back.

As a graduate of Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery, Charlotte Gregory is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution - the gas stove. And she certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired kindhearted Lewis Mathis to entertain at her lectures.

Lewis encourages Charlotte's work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made - especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

Review: When I picked up this novel last week I had a moment of confusion…. Just last week I read a novel based in the early 1900s with a woman who wanted to be a chef. I suppose it's a good plot line though. In that era, women were just starting to get an education and it was exceedingly difficult for women to succeed in the world of men. Even if a girl did manage to get a degree, finding a job was another matter all together. For some, making a career in an occupation that women have worked in for 1000s of years at home was probably an easier step then say, going out to be a lawyer.

In this story, Charlotte Gregory is an opinionated, forward-thinking, driven young-lady who is fresh out of school with a cooking degree. She knows she's an excellent cook and that her knowledge of nutrition far exceeds those of most of the chefs in the city. However, despite her credentials, she can't get a job.

When her sister is hospitalized to give birth to her baby, Charlotte is horrified to see the food that is brought up on the hospital trays. Why, if she had to eat that she'd take sick too! Despite her clear points of issue, the hospital superintendent ignores her outlines on how to improve the kitchen, and Charlotte is left frustrated and greatly annoyed by the handsome, if not stubborn, doctor.

Determined to share her knowledge and love for food, Charlotte hits the road with a wealthy, agreeable young man and her chaperone to cook up a storm in the neighbouring cities. Lewis sings and Charlotte cooks. Together, they educate, entertain, and feed women eager to learn new skills and try out the new gas stoves.

Meanwhile, back at home, disaster strikes, Tessa -Charlotte's little sister- lands a rather scandalous job, and the irritating doctor once again enters her life.

Stuck between two men and a career she loves, Charlotte is faced with some pretty big choices.

This book was entertaining and well written. From a faith perspective, I appreciated how honourably the men acted and how Charlotte always protects her virtue. The characters in the book are all Christians, and I admired how they all showed it - Charlotte's aunt in her generosity, Charlotte with her giving nature and desire to help people, the doctor in how he cares for the orphans…. it was nice to see. A good book!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Revell and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

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