As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Good Plain Cook - Bethan Roberts

The cool thing about reviewing books online is that sometimes I get sent random books to see if they are something I am interested in or not. The Good Plain Cook by Bethan Roberts was one of those books. I had never heard of it before but thought it sounded interesting and for some reason I really liked the homey cover.

Set in the 1930's, nineteen year old Kitty Allen answers an add in the newspaper for a position as a "good plain cook" for a wealthier household. Interesting thing, Kitty Allen doesn't really know how to cook that much. Even more interesting is her employers: wealthy Ellen Steinberg, her live-in lover/poet George Crane, and Ellen's teen daughter Geenie.

The book is about relationships. There's some triangles: widowed Ellen, George, and George's wife (yep, he's married). Then George sees a muse in innocent Kitty so there's another triangle. Then there's the gardener who is interested in Kitty but is he glamorous enough when there's a poet in the house? Last but not least, George's daughter Diana comes to stay and becomes friends with Geenie (not really a triangle there but they were my favorite characters).

And that's about it. I have to say one thing: Bethan Roberts can write. It felt like a classic. My problem: I'm not a big fan of those types of classic. While it kept my interest and I loved the writing, I was half-way through the book when I realized not much had gone on. And then when I got to the end I had the same feeling.

So it's really what type of reader you are that will decide if this is a good book or not. I loved the writing and I really enjoyed the side-story of Geenie and Diana. But at the end of the day, for me, it wasn't a bad novel, just slightly forgettable.

**Thank you Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. for the chance to read and review this book!

I didn't find any other reviews, but Medieval Bookworm reviewed her book The Pools and found it to be a "stunning book".


  1. It sounds like one I could be interested in it and the writing is good, so I'll have to make a note of the title.

  2. Sorry it really didn't work for you. I like the idea of it, but I doubt it would hold my interest either.

  3. I do love the cover. Sorry you found it forgettable.

  4. This definitely sounds like one of those titles I'd really like to try. And I find the cover oddly appealing, too. Maybe it's the red. Hmmm. :)

  5. Maybe she should have titled it "The Good Plain Book".
    Sorry, I couldn't help yself.
    My only excuse is an Aussie sense of humour.

    By the way thank you very much for your charming comments on my blog. (And for the tip about the site)

    Publish or Perish


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