Returning to the Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For this next part of the challenge, I decided to read a book from another new author to me, The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson, published in 2017.
In The Opposite of You, we have a story focusing on very talented chefs. Our heroine, Vera Delane, while attending culinary school in North Carolina, meets star chef, Derrek Hanover, who immediately captures her interest both professionally and personally. After graduation, this talented woman moves in with Derrek and, before long, he has managed to convince Vera to put herself in second place while he builds his own stardom with the promise that he will help her once his career is made. This relationship not only proves stifling but isolating and physically abusive for Vera and, one day, she secretly leaves Derrek, running off to Europe to work in various kitchens, building her skills. After a year abroad, Vera is notified that her father is ill with cancer. She returns to Durham, North Carolina and decides to use her limited resources to open a food truck, which she can park for free in the parking lot of her big brother’s bike shop. But, unfortunately, this parking spot is in a popular square also occupied by the illustrious restaurant, Lilou, headed by star chef and damn attractive man, Killian Quinn. This food truck sitting across from his restaurant both sparks Quinn’s curiosity and irritates him. Before long, he’s secretly testing Vera’s food and giving uninvited advice. Then, he’s doing it not so secretly while Vera defiantly confronts him, vowing not to be intimidated by or attracted to another star chef who might eat her alive again.
If you’re a foodie, this book is for you, as there’s a great deal of talk about recipes and food combinations from these characters who are manning their own kitchens. I did enjoy that. For the first 30 or so pages of the book; however, I couldn’t get into the story because the heroine was such a Debbie Downer and so fearful about pursuing her ambitions. Finally, she gets her act together and the action picks up. Once that happens and Killian Quinn begins interacting with Vera, getting her back up, and sparking her personality, things take off. There’s a little hiccup towards the end as Vera faces Derrek again, but the middle part is good and Killian’s backstory is very interesting, and, in fact, I can see a sequel emerging based on Killian’s suave partner — and perhaps — Vera’s friend. I would give this book a B, maybe a B+.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 15 down, 3 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q, I, O …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to go