The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

About The Book

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Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

My Review

A month ago, I was boiling water when it somehow set off all three smoke detectors in our apartment and charred the outside of my pot. Just, boiling water to make boxed macaroni--the kind that comes in the bright blue box. Yep, that's me and cooking. I might not be much of a cook, but I loved stepping into Rachel's kitchen. The author's Denver background and her talented writing skill painted a picture of the food scene that made me feel as if I'd visited a place I've never been. 

As a romantic, I loved the tension. It added some steamy, but clean elements that made me swoon. The description of the food was enough to whet your appetite, even if you're not a foodie (ya know, like me.) The beginning of the book starts with problems that seem insurmountable, but you can see God working in the lives of the characters to bring the happy ending. 

Rachel and Alex were both relatable, realistic characters with flaws and strengths that complement each other. However, I also found myself loving the supporting characters, especially Alex's sister Dina. Since this is a series, I'm hopeful we'll see more of those character in the next books. This was my first novel by Carla Laureano, but definitely not my last! I'm going to add the rest of her books to my TBR pile while I wait for the next book in the series. 

I give this book 5+ stars. All thoughts are my own. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Guest Post from Carla Laureano

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.