Author: Dianne Blacklock
Dianne Blacklock has written an engaging tale of self discovery that will keep you compulsively turning pages to find out how it all turns out. I would just start to think I knew exactly what was happening and where the story was heading when something totally unexpected caught me unguarded.
The characters are engaging, if not always likeable. They make you want to react to them – whether it be with a hug or a knuckle sandwich. Ross was totally believable and I found myself caught off-guard making comparisons between him and men I know. There is definitely more to arrogant, unapproachable Chef Dominic Gerou than meets the eye, it doesn’t take long to realise that his tough exterior hides a very different side to him.
Andie is wife number two of the older and well off Ross Corcoran, happily married for a decade but still a little insecure and paranoid about her relationship. I have to wonder if the other woman turned wife can ever be completely comfortable and secure that there will never be another other woman.
Events conspire to leave Andie looking at her life and setting about a new direction. She put aside all of her dreams for the man that she loved and instead of working in a commercial kitchen she ended up running a gourmet deli.
The Secret Ingredient sees you riding shotgun with Andie through a string of major life changes in a short amount of time. Changes that have her totally re-evaluating herself and finally pursuing her dreams, ultimately finding The Secret Ingredient to her true happiness.
Dianne Blacklock has formulated some very intricate and complicated relationships in this novel and yet they all remain quite clear and defined where it would be so easy for them to sink into confusion and get blurry. They are relationships that come across unlikely at times but are believable in their evolution.
This novel is the perfect combination of wit and emotion to keep it light and easy to read while still substantial and thought provoking. The depth of emotional baggage being carried and dealt with within these pages is quite astounding, it is done with sensitivity while holding nothing back.
I find myself again reading a novel in which food is at the centre. There seems to be quite a lot of food, kitchen, chef related literature around at the moment, but I am not really sure that this is a new thing as I am out of my comfort genre.
Commercial cooking seems to be a field of high passion, Chefs are highly passionate about the food that they prepare and serve. They have always dreamed of working in the field. Dominic Gerou, acclaimed chef at Viande, has the arrogance and the pride in his work but he may well be a chef of a different flavour.
Andie’s independence isn’t something she was aware she was missing, until she finally found it, and her journey to get there will make you laugh, and bring you to the brink of tears right alongside her.