Book Review: "Recipe for Scandal" by Debby Holt

Living with her partner, Tony, his parents and their precocious teenage son, Alberta Granger considers she belongs to the perfect modern extended family. With her catering business booming and her daughter embarking on a glittering career in London, Bertie reckons she can cope with the mild irritants of her difficult stepson's visits and her father's ongoing disapproval of Tony. But some truly shocking news is about to rock Bertie's world to its foundations. As a torrent of tabloid headlines engulfs the family in a very public scandal, Bertie is forced to face the fact that some of her nearest and dearest, those closest family members she thought she knew so well, have been keeping secrets, leading mysterious double lives she knew nothing about. As revelation follows revelation, old wounds re-open and former grudges re-surface. Is Bertie's family unit tight enough to survive? Is her relationship with Tony solid enough to withstand the battering? And, when temptation arises in the form of a handsome stranger, is Bertie herself strong enough to resist?

This was my first Debby Holt book that I have read and I will admit that I was a bit deceived by the cover and title. I first thought since the cover has a woman cooking and the word recipe was in the title, that it was going to be a book focusing on food and cooking in the story line. Sadly, even though food is briefly mentioned, this book was not a foodie novel.

Instead the book is the story of three women in a family - grandmother, mother, daughter. The three stories are intertwined and we learn a lot about the characters through their different stories. While I enjoyed all three of the women's stories, I preferred reading about Alberta's daughter and her mother over her own story. Not that Alberta's story was boring but I felt that the other two women had more going on in their stories than Alberta's did. There several times when I would shout in shock or exclamation over Hannah and Philappa's stories. Even with the huge generation gap between the two, I felt like I could relate more to them. I also laughed a lot with these two characters.

Alberta's not so much unfortunately. I really did not like Daniel's character. He was really full of himself and is exactly the type of character I could not stand. Seriously I just wanted to shake Alberta every time she would spend time with the man. There were times when I got annoyed at other characters as well. I just felt that a lot of unnecessary drama was created and could have easily been resolved if parties had just sat down and talked with each other. As it stood, all those ingredients of drama did indeed add up to recipe for scandal.

Overall though I did enjoy the book. The story picked up around the middle of the book, and from there I couldn't stop reading. I really think British chick lit is far superior to American chick lit. Since this is my first book from the author, I'm eager to go back and read her other books.

Recipe for Scandal by Debby Holt is published by Pocket Books (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. The book sounds cute, but I thought it was going to be a foodie book too!


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