Blooming All Over
Bloom's, the world-famous gourmet delicatessen on Manhattan's Upper West Side, has found its groove under the management of its new president, Julia Bloom, granddaughter of the business's founders, Ida and the late Isaac Bloom. With guidance from her fiancé, business reporter Ron Joffe, and the assistance of her flaky sister Susie, Julia has updated the place, improved marketing, and gained control of the company's erratic finances. To her surprise, she's discovered that she actually likes running a demanding enterprise like Bloom's.
Susie doesn't like working for Bloom's at all. She wants to help her sister, but she's a poet and a free spirit. Bad enough that Susie now has her own desk in the Bloom's business offices. Worse that she's writing the company's advertising circulars instead of her own poetry. When Casey Gordon, the store's creative bagel maestro, asks her to move in with him, she realizes her life has become unbearably conventional. She flees the city with her cousin Rick, a film school graduate, to make a movie about the significance of food to the Bloom family. Julia believes Rick is creating an infomercial for the store. Rick believes he's creating a masterpiece worthy of an Oscar.
And Casey believes that, without Susie in his life, he doesn't belong at Bloom's anymore. But the store might not continue to flourish without his daringly designed bagels. And Susie might not regain her joyful spirit without his love.
Even the most goyische reader will get a kick out of Arnold's newest novel, which centers around the Bloom family delicatessen, "the biggest good deli" in New York City, according to Susie Bloom's opinionated Grandma Ida. As the creative director of Bloom's monthly bulletin, Susie serves up the deals on blintzes and bagels. But finding the right word to rhyme with pastrami for the bulletin's ubiquitous limerick is the least of Susie's problems when her sexy, bagel-making boyfriend Casey Gordon asks her to move into his apartment in Queens. In an effort to avoid Casey's tempting offer of domesticity, Susie embarks on an ill-advised trip to New England with her penniless cousin Rick to film an infomercial for Bloom's, which will feature herself and a decidedly un-Kosher, six-foot-tall plastic lobster. Meanwhile, Susie's sister Julia (the protagonist from Arnold's previous book, Love in Bloom's) must plan her wedding, no easy task considering her mother wants to book the Plaza and Grandma Ida wants the wedding to be held in her apartment. As the story progresses, other Blooms enter the picture, which makes for some fun, sexy misadventures. As simple and scrumptious as one of Bloom's Heat'n'Eat entrees, this novel has all the makings of a memorable summer read.