Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Dining with Joy - A Low Country Novel connected to Love Starts with Elle and Sweet Caroline
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: November 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, Beaufort SC
Overall Rating: 3.5
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Rachel's Website/Blog: www.rachelhauck.com
Joy Ballard, a celebrity who should be feeling like she’s on the top of the world, feels as if the rug has been pulled out from beneath her. You see, she hosts a cooking show, Dining with Joy, and she can’t cook. She’s been able to fake her way through it until now…
Her producer has sold the show to an up and coming production company, which was then picked up by a major reality TV network. She should tell her new producer, get it all in the open. But the opportunities it will provide her, the ruin it could cause other lives should she confess, well that all outweighs any guilt she feels at continuing to live the lie.
Luke Redmond is a gifted chef who had some misfires in running his own, now defunct, restaurant. He wants to be a success and regain the crème de la crème of the foodie world’s respect. Perhaps the offer that falls into his lap based on a spontaneous kiss during a cook-off will somehow gain him that respect. But is this the way to do it? Co-hosting Dining with Joy?
After a bit of bluster and worry, Joy realizes this could be the way for her to save face! Everyone keeps their jobs, they make the show a success, and she works it to where Luke gets most, if not all, of the on air cooking segments. A win-win for everyone.
Could be, but Luke slowly realizes that there is something Joy is hiding. He doesn’t want to give in to the attraction he feels for her with secrets holding him at arm’s distance. Something’s just not right.
Joy feels more and more guilt over her deception, yet she’s in over her head now. She does what she does best and turns inward and holds herself back and aloof. Yet when the soufflé of her life begins to fall flat with humiliating results will she be able to hear and understand God’s whispers to her through all the fallout? Is the subsequent offer Luke receives God’s will for him or simply his heart’s desire?
Ah, the whispers of God. Joy had become so caught up in her problems, both work and family, just like we humans do, that she failed to be still and listen until disaster had struck. Yet of course she knew what was best for her life, what she wanted, so why then was it such a mess?
Oh, how many of us can relate to Joy. Fortunately, Ms. Hauck gifted us with an entertaining reminder to "be still and listen."
While the story didn’t quite follow the path that I had anticipated, I enjoyed several hours of inspiring fiction. The struggles and fears and pain and surprises that Joy and Luke experienced brought a smile to my face, a tug to my heart, and a cheer and (yes, admittedly) a boo-hiss to my lips.
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