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A Tale of the Curious Cookbook
Robbie MacIntyre manages a small post office in the old Station House on the outskirts of sleepy Barton Hartshourn northwest of London. He’s stunned when the owner, Maggie, a close friend, bequeaths him not only the post office, but also Station House.
The rest of her estate is left to an American writer, Jason Young, and when he moves to the village, Robbie is thrown by the attraction he has for the man who has more of a claim on the Station House than he does.
Then there is a box that holds several rare first editions and a cookbook. Only when the secrets of the ingredients in a particular recipe are finally revealed does everything begin to make sense, and a love cut short seventy years earlier is finally discovered.
This is an enjoyable little novella. I am quite familiar with Ms. Scott’s writing (although I haven’t read any of her stories for a year). It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any discontents, though. I’ll focus on those first.
I thought that Jason as a character wasn’t developed enough. Probably because the story was narrated from Robbie’s perspective and somehow it made me miss who Jason really was. It said that Jason was an author but I didn’t really get to know how successful he was, what kind of books he loved to write. Just the fact that Jason was writing something historical at the moment. Jason was also said to be very rich, that money was not a problem for him, but again, I didn’t get that from the story. There was one summarized paragraph on how Robbie and Jason connected and they talked about EVERYTHING. And all I could do as a reader was … “Say what?!? What is EVERYTHING??”
I also felt like I was missing the idea of this series – a tale of the curious cookbook – uhm, is it only because Robbie found that mysterious cookbook of Maggie’s? Will this be the kind of cookbook that is shared by different couples written by different authors? Is there something magical from the cookbook or is it stated as “curious” simply because the recipes there are written for different types of situations? I wish Ms. Scott explored that, especially since this is practically the first story of the series. It would be nice if there was a footing of it somehow. Even if the stories are meant to be stand-alone.
But despite those issues, I still found that there was something comforting in reading about two men in a quiet British village setting. I loved the relationship building – I loved that Robbie (with his red hair!!) always wanted someone who was quiet and could appreciate those rainy afternoons. And Robbie never thought he would find it in an American! Plus this little novella came to me right after I rated a book with 2.5*. So it felt like a wonderful remedy to my heart and soul.
Final though, that lovely cover! Isn’t it a breath of fresh air, not having to stare at naked torsos? Or any facial expressions to be honest? I always love it when the MM romance covers don’t feature any men at all. So this one is just pretty for me and it’s actually the reason why I decided to read the whole series.