Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs

The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper ClubsAuthor: Dana Bate
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion

Hannah Sugarman seems to have it all. She works for an influential think tank in Washington, D.C., lives in a swanky apartment with her high-achieving boyfriend, and is poised for an academic career just like her parents. The only problem is that Hannah doesn’t want any of it. What she wants is much simpler: to cook.

When her relationship collapses, Hannah seizes the chance to do what she’s always loved and launches an underground supper club out of her new landlord’s town house. Though her delicious dishes become the talk of the town, her secret venture is highly problematic, given that it is not, technically speaking, legal. She also conveniently forgets to tell her landlord she has been using his place while he is out of town.

On top of that, Hannah faces various romantic prospects that leave her guessing and confused, parents who don’t support cooking as a career, and her own fears of taking a risk and charting her own path. A charming romantic comedy, The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs is a story about finding yourself, fulfilling your dreams, and falling in love along the way.

“And, really, with all of the champagne and red wine, combined with the prospect of sugary frosting and pecan goo, it almost wasn’t my fault. I was distracted. Who hasn’t made a few bad decisions under the spell of sugar and alcohol? Besides, Adam acted like a jerk for most of the evening. I’m hardly the only one at fault.” – Finished Copy pg. 13

“Baking and cooking bring me inner peace, like a tasty version of yoga, without all the awkward stretching and sweating. When my life spins out of control, when I can’t make sense of what’s going on in the world, I head straight to the kitchen and turn on my oven, and with the press of a button, I switch one part of my brain off and another on. The rules of the kitchen are straightforward, and when I’m there I don’t have to think about my problems. I don’t need to think about anything but cups and ounces, temperatures and cooking times.” – Finished Copy pg. 24 & 25

“Baking was my way of restoring order in a world drive by chaos, and it still is.” – Finished Copy pg. 25

“I stagger over to the freezer, wanting nothing more than to fill the emptiness inside me with something rich and disgustingly caloric, anything to erase this feeling of being so completely alone. But, as I dig out a fist-size spoonful of cookies and cream ice cream, for the first time in my entire life, I cannot bring myself to eat.” – Finished Copy pg. 50

“We head back into the kitchen, where I finish baking off the pretzel bread and pull one of the carrot cakes from the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature. Mounds of toasted coconut cling to the side of the cake, held in place by the fluffy cream cheese frosting. Beneath the frosting lies a moist and fragrant cake bursting with carrots and cinnamon and golden raisins, stuffed with gooey caramelized pecan filling. It is, in my eyes, a dessert approximating perfection.” – Finished Copy pg. 143

For some reason I always find myself lost and mesmerized in the books that surround food of any sort. This book may very well be my favorite book so far this year. I was just so lost in the literature and lost in Hannah’s world of carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, and coffee cakes galore! Books that have anything to do with food or a main character that loves to cook and bake are just really hard to beat. There is just something about them that feels extra cozy and all the more real to me. Hannah Sugarman is down on her luck. How awesome is the last name ‘Sugarman’? Her parents are displeased with her and she has just been dumped. Yes, this is how most of these stories start off, but trust me Hannah’s story is worth sticking around for.

A Secret Supper Club? If you would have asked me yesterday I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what that was or even if it was real. This Secret Supper Club becomes a group of characters that I found myself falling in love with. My favorite scenes were scenes where the Secret Supper Club met and shared dinner and lots of funny stories. I must say that you should not read this book if you are extremely hungry because Hannah and her crew will have your mouth watering. When Hannah describes whatever it is she might be cooking I have a hard time not getting lost in daydreams. Everything sounds so dreamy and the imagery surrounding the food is to die for. Literally, wanted to reach out and grab everything she talks about.

Even though this book is about a Secret Supper Club, that is not all that the story focuses on. We follow Hannah as her life begins to unravel and then get sewn back together again. She enters new relationships and brings a very lively cast of secondary characters to the table. I also loved the setting, which is Washington D.C. I have just recently started noticing that a lot more books are being set here as opposed to New York City or San Francisco. I like reading about the fast-paced city life and I love how Hannah’s pace seems so calm despite what is going on around her.

If you love Chick-Lit or anything about food, then I highly recommend you give Hannah Sugarman and Dana Bate a try! This is Dana Bate’s debut novel and I must say Ms. Bate, I am pretty impressed!

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Hyperion for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***


  1. Thank you so much for the lovely review! I'm so thrilled to hear you enjoyed the book :). And clearly I love your ratings system. Five cupcakes -- delicious in more ways than one!

  2. I love books about food! Can't wait to get my hands on this one! And Hannah's last name is a good one. :)