Catch of the Day
After reading Catch of the Day, I’ve decided I may give up on Marcia Evanick. The book starts off with enough juvenile humor and internal lusting that I nearly threw it across the room. Things did improve, but not enough to make me try the author again anytime soon.
Gwen Fletcher, a single gourmet chef, is lured to the town of Misty Harbor by an Internet friend who convinced her that Misty Harbor was a great place to open a restaurant. What her friend neglected to tell her was that Misty Harbor had no single females and many men looking for a wife. After Gwen arrives in town and starts working on her restaurant, the eligible males of Misty Harbor start hitting on her. All of them, that is, except her contractor, Daniel Creighton. Daniel was jilted years ago, and has a little scar across his cheek that he thinks makes him unattractive or scary. Yawn. Of course, Daniel is the only man among her suitors whom Gwen likes, and Daniel has sworn off women.
What’s most off-putting about this book is Daniel’s internal lusting after Gwen. Unsophisticated at best, it went on for many more pages than necessary. Here’s an example. Daniel’s grandfather tells Daniel to just wait until he tastes Gwen’s buns – her cinnamon buns. Anyone see where this punchline is going? “Just thinking about tasting Gwen’s buns was causing a distinctly male reaction in his body.” There are several other occasions in the first few chapters of this kind of forced “humor.”
Though Daniel’s thought-processes seemed stuck in a lusty groove, he turned out to be a pretty nice guy. He doesn’t want to be one of Gwens’ crowd of men but keeps finding himself jealous nonethless. He had a bad relationship in the past, but it has’t made him wary of all women. And even though he is self-conscious about that scar on his face, he does eventually manage to get over it.
Gwen is an appealing character; she’s kind, forthright, competent, and equitable in her treatment of others. She’s totally dedicated to getting her restuarant up and running and loves her family but feels inferior in comparison. Next to all those lawyers, doctors, and judges, what’s a mere chef and restauranteur?
Daniel and Gwen each feel an attraction for the other from the beginning but don’t act on it. When town gossip has them as a couple, Gwen asks Daniel to go with it to get discourage other suitors so she can finish her restaurant. There’s a decent chemistry between them, and they make a cute couple.
Unfortunately, the chemistry is overshadowed by the forced humor, particularly from the single men in town. Fish as a welcome gift just wasnt as hilarious to me as I’m sure the author had hoped. And while I liked the chemistry between Gwen and Daniel, some of the secondary plotlines were more interesting than theirs. There’s Hunter, for instance, a Vietnam vet who works for Gwen. Gwen doesn’t treat him as fragile even though the rest of the town does. He begins to come out of his shell and later gets a romance of his own. Then there’s Maggie, the woman who dumped Daniel in the past and who’se moved back to town with her daughter. There was great potential in this sub-plot, but it went nowhere.
Evanick writes with descriptive gusto; I wanted to go in my kitchen and cook after I finished reading about some of Gwen’s time in the kitchen. She also made small-town life seem quite appealing, and, likely a little too rosey. But hey, I’d live there.
Though it does have some good points, what didn’t work in Catch of the Day made me want to throw it back. The lead characters were pleasant enough, but there wasn’t enough activity to keep things moving. And because the humor fell flat, the book lacked sparkle. Descriptive writing aside, this one was a struggle to finish.