10 May 2012
Book Review: The Saturday Supper Club by Amy Bratley
Amy Bratley's second novel The Saturday Supper Club is one read I have been looking forward to for a while. I really enjoyed her first book, The Girls Guide to Homemaking and was hoping this would be a similarly good read too. From the synopsis, it sounded something a take on the popular television show Come Dine With Me which is just brilliant, and therefore certainly made the book sound even more appealing. I have to confess that I rather love the cover as well - it has a bit of a old-fashioned look and charm about it and the gorgeous cake slap bang in the middle is pretty tempting too! Sadly, the book was going to be a 5 star read as it was fantastic but there is a small but for me significant reason it had to lose that half a star!
Eve is happily living in London with her boyfriend Joe, who she got together with after the disappearance of Ethan, the love of her life. She's opening a café and everything seems to be going well. When Joe begs her to take part in a supper club for a local newspaper, she reluctantly agrees but doesn't realise it's going to change her life completely. When she opens the door to her first guest, she's shocked to find Ethan standing there. What is he doing back in London, and why exactly did he run away 3 years ago never to be heard from again? Join Eve, Maggie, Ethan and Andrew for four evening's of delicious food, and a few surprise revelations along the way too!
The book dives straight in with the first meal at Eve's home, and I enjoyed that there wasn't too much setting up and it got straight into the action. Instead, Bratley choses to tell the backstory between Joe and Eve deciding to take part in the supper club, and then Eve and Ethan's relationship through little flashback throughout the first few chapters, and it was fun to read. It flitted back and forth rather easily, and I loved how I was left in suspense in parts because something would happen, and then it would jump back to another flashback, and I'd be left wondering what happened, which was fantastic! The book is written in the first person from Eve's point of view, so the flashback type of narrative works really well, and it really allows us to get into the mind of Eve and understand her reactions and why she does what she does in the book.
The dinner party part of the book was really fun to read. The book is split into 4 parts - one for each of the dinner parties and the story with Eve, Ethan and Joe progresses around these. Bratley writes the dinner parties with humour, but also manages to throw in some amazing descriptions of the food being cooked, the drinks being drunk and the homes of the people involved too. Some bits made me laugh out loud, especially poor old Andrew, and I really enjoyed getting to the know the 3 other contestants alongside Eve. They were all very different, and that's why the book worked so well, because they each bought something to it, and I liked how Bratley really set these people up as their own characters as well, not just there for the purposes of the supper club. My favourite was certainly Andrew, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy and you know his heart is in the right place!
So, why did I have to knock half a star off this otherwise fantastic book? Well, without spoiling it at all, it has to be because of the ending. I was left thinking "WHAT?!" because I just couldn't understand why it happened, and I was most displeased with the decisions made! Strangely though, The Saturday Supper Club is one one of those books where the ending is completely obvious from the beginning, which I really liked but it did leave me disappointed when it did conclude in a way I wasn't happy with! However, despite this little niggle for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book and zoomed through it in a couple of days because it was fantastic. I loved the writing, the plot and the characters, and the addition of some delicious sounding suppers didn't hurt either! It's a novel twist on a tried and tested telly format, but it worked really well, and Bratley has written a wonderful book that you'll want to devour in one sitting! Recommended!
You can buy The Saturday Supper Club as a paperback or an eBook now!