The national bestselling author of The Inheritance continues her “female bonding romance series like the Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts” (Kirkus Reviews).
Sometimes you go in search of a new beginning. Other times, it finds you. Tonya Martin enjoys her job as a professional chef for a Wall Street bank—until the day she finds herself suddenly downsized. But a spontaneous trip to New Orleans opens up a new opportunity. With time on her hands and her daughter soon graduating college, Tonya has the chance to reach for her own long-cherished dream—opening a restaurant on her friend Hannah’s beautiful Garden District estate.
While Hannah and her new husband work on transforming the DuPont House into a luxury inn, Tonya explores local cuisine, taking an apprentice role at famed restaurant Chez Toussaints. Gage Toussaint’s mix of Creole, Cajun, and African ancestry is deeply attractive, and the sexy chef clearly wants their friendship to become much more. Drawn to him, Tonya wonders if it’s too late to leap into love again. Could Gage be just the ingredient she needs to make this delicious new life complete?
Includes New Orleans Cuisine Recipes!
Praise for The Innkeepers series
“The ambiance and flavor of New Orleans are on full display.”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
Alers's second Innkeepers contemporary (after The Inheritance) is slow and stodgy. After being laid off as an assistant chef, 50-year-old Tonya Martin moves from New York to New Orleans. High school music teacher and part-time chef Gage Toussaint is overwhelmed with his duties, so he's relieved when Tonya becomes a temporary volunteer sous chef at his family's restaurant. The two bond over their love of cooking, but due to past relationships they find it difficult to trust each other. Tonya is a walking contradiction whose rudeness is disguised as strength: she "admires directness in a person" but is "past placating anyone who openly verbalizes their negativity" even though she herself "has no filter when it comes to speaking her mind." There's no chemistry between the lovers. A meet-cute that falls flat, a chef who's willing to share secret recipes with the competition, dialogue that's more like interrogation, excessive depictions of every character and food item, and a belligerent ex-wife who shows up just long enough to reveal a secret all combine to drag down this overly detailed, unromantic cookbook.