While competing on a national cooking show, the well-liked Southern chef Hadley Beckett has several bad experiences with bad-boy star chef Maxwell Cavanaugh who has a very public melt-down.
Months later, Hadley is the culinary world’s most popular super-star and Max is persona non-grata when the two are paired together for a new series.
One of the things I love about Bethany Turner is how seamlessly she weaves cultural references into her books, whether they be classic films or music or more contemporary entertainments. Additionally, I appreciate how much her stories resemble a cinematic romantic comedy. From the plot structure to the meet cute, to the comical but legitimate misunderstandings that drive the development of the romance, Turner has converted my favorite film genre into book form. Although her first two books were extremely entertaining, the third time around is also a charm.
Speaking of cultural references, Max’s love for the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes instantly endeared him to me, as did his passion for travel. Max has quite a reputation to overcome, both with Hadley and with the reader. But he works hard and sincerely to do so. And although I still don’t think his reasons for behaving so badly in the beginning are good enough, I do believe in his eventual transformation.
Hadley reminds me of a young Paula Deen, sweet and Southern but with a hint of sass. Then there is her belief (also mine)in the power of butter. Her remarkable ability to forgive and not hold a grudge is what allow her and Max to get to know each other better. For that, I greatly admire her.
Max and Hadley’s journey from enemies to romantic partners is quite a fun journey. Their banter and interactions are fun, fascinating and completely unpredictable. You never know if they will reveal their individual emotional depths, end up arguing over a misunderstanding or attacking each others’ lips out of the blue. Although I don’t really understand their relationship, I think the uncertainty of their reaction to each other is one of the most unique aspects of Turner’s latest release.
Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is a quick and snappy rom-com in book form that can’t help but entertain. It’s highlight, of course are Hadley and Max’s interactions with each other, but it also boasts great supporting characters as well as an insider’s look at the popular foodie industry and it’s television programming. If you don’t come away both giggling and hungry, then you may need to check to see if you are actually human.
**Disclosure – I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of the book as a gift. I was under no obligation to review it and all opinions are my own.**