By Kate Jacobs
Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399154652, 336pp.
Publication Date: May 6, 2008
In this smart, delicious novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity chef shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment-- and manages to spice up her own life at the same time.
Shortly before turning the big 5-0, boisterous party planner and Cooking with Gusto! personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather not--her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to plan her own birthday party. What she needs is time on her own with enough distance to give her loved ones the ingredients to put together successful lives without her.
Assisted by a handsome up-and-coming chef, Oliver, Gus invites a select group to take an on-air cooking class. But instead of just preaching to the foodie masses, she will teach regular people how to make rich, sensuous meals--real people making real food. Gus decides to bring a vibrant cast of friends and family on the program: Sabrina, her fickle daughter; Troy, Sabrina's ex-husband; Anna, Gus's timid neighbor; and Carmen, Gus's pompous and beautiful competitor at the Cooking Channel. And when she begins to have more than collegial feelings for her sous-chef, Gus realizes that she might be able to rejuvenate not just her professional life, but her personal life as well. . . .