Sunday, September 19, 2010

Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson

As part of my ongoing pursuit to find romantic fiction that I like, I read Georgia's Kitchen by first-time author Jenny Nelson. Reasons I thought I'd like it: it's about a woman chef and it's partly set in Tuscany. Which are the same reasons that I did enjoy it, plus the characterization of Georgia, the 33-year-old central character, and her relationships with lots of different people in her life.

I didn't love all the romantic angst, but that part didn't put me off the book in the way it might have if I was less hooked on other elements. The main hook was the inside view of what goes on in restaurant kitchens. I was also cheering for Georgia in her search for self-confidence and self-acceptance.

I also didn't love the many mentions of luxury brands and expensive New York City shops. (I'm dubious about the ability to tell that a business card was printed at a certain stationer just by the heft and sheen of the paper.) This name-dropping seems to be unavoidable in chick lit. The frequent references to Georgia's frizzy hair annoyed me too, since I got it the first time; her hair is difficult to control. Once would have been enough, but it was closer to once every chapter, usually with a frizz rating. Except for chapter 20, where we hear about a friend's hair for a change - "Her black hair hung in ropy, dreadlike chunks, completing the boho-chic look she was currently cultivating. The coif had probably set her back three hundred bucks at her chichi Madison Avenue salon."

Everything wraps up neatly for Georgia (and her hair) at the end. Food, friends, fiance, job hunting, single life, a faithful dog, New York, Italy and a happy ending. What else do you need?

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