Catch of a Lifetime
I expected to like this book. A lot. Not only does it feature an “older” heroine, but she’s a chef with an interesting background. With an ex-athlete as hero, it seemed made to order with seemed being the operative word. Add into the mix excessive information dumps, no real build-up of a relationship between the hero and heroine, and the improbability of too many people from Chicago moving to a small town in Kentucky, and this moved quickly from a book I should love to one that’s just acceptable.
This is the latest entry in the author’s Cricket Creek series. The residents of the small, economically depressed Kentucky town are trying to save it through tourism, helped by the introduction of a semi-professional baseball team, the Cougars. As the book opens Jessica Robinson is bemoaning her 40th birthday, feeling that her life is over. Her daughter, a successful playwright and college teacher quickly steps in with lots of Cougar jokes about how hot Jessica is.
Jessica became pregnant when she was a teen. After her father threw her out of the house, Jessica’s aunt in Cricket Creek took her in. She eventually left for Chicago with her daughter and became a successful chef at one of the city’s top restaurants. When her aunt’s diner in Cricket Creek was in trouble, Jessica moved back to help and is quickly turning it into a fine dining establishment and tourist destination.
We’re introduced to the hero in information dumps early on in Jessica’s thoughts. Big league baseball player Ty McKenna came into Jessica’s Chicago restaurant on a regular basis, always with a different gorgeous woman on his arm. He’s now manager of the Cricket Creek Cougars. We’re told that he’s been eating in the diner for months and apparently everyone in town but Jessica knows he’s trying to get her attention. While Jessica is attracted to Ty, she just can’t forget his past reputation.
Perhaps this would work better if you’ve read and liked the previous book. I needed to see more of the attraction that supposedly happened between Jessica and Ty in the months before this book begins.
I like a book that has a sense of place, but it felt as if the author was trying to give a sense of Kentucky, a state I happen to love, by having Jessica and Ty intersperse their dialogue with periodic info dumps about Kentucky alcohol and foods. While I’m something of a foodie, the exchanges were so dry that they took me out of the scene.
We were told many times how charming the town is. But the proof was missing from the pages. Some more details about the town – and not in the form of info dumps – are needed since I found the increasing number of people moving to Cricket Creek from Chicago implausible, given the limited attention paid to the actual attractions of the town.