Cooking Up A Storm
Sue kindly asked me to read her new book some time ago before it had been published. I was more than happy to do so and I am extremely thrilled to write a review of this sweet, funny, well written book.
Before I tell you about the book, here is a little background info about the lovely Sue herself, most of which I gathered from Wikipedia and her own website http://www.katelawson.co.uk
Sue lives and works deep in the heart of rural Norfolk, writing as Sue Welfare, Gemma Fox and Kate Lawson
Born on the edge of the Fens Sue is perfectly placed to write about the vagaries of life in East Anglia.
In between moving house, raising a family, falling in love with the gorgeous Phil, singing in a choir, walking the dog, working in the garden, taking endless photos and cooking Sue/Gemma/Kate is also a scriptwriter, originating and developing a soap opera for local radio, along with a pantomime for the town in which she lives.
Sue Welfare began her career by writing 12 erotic fiction novels under various names, after writing freelance for a variety of magazines including Practical Crafts and Young Soldier. In 1995 she had her first full length novel published by Black Lace. In 1995 she also won the Mail On Sunday opening of a novel competition.
Her first main stream novel, A Few Little Lies, was published by Harper Collins in 1998. In 2004 she began writing under the name Gemma Fox publishing Hot Pursuit, also through Harper Collins. In 2007 she wrote the BBC Radio Norfolk drama ‘Little Bexham‘ under the name Sue Welfare. 2008 saw her writing as Kate Lawson releasing ‘Mum’s the Word’ published by Avon. She also teaches writing at UEA.
Writing as Gemma Fox, Sue was short-listed for the Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Award in 2006.
In various other guises Sue has had published, apart from the 12 erotic novels, and as Sue Welfare 16 Rom Com (4 as Kate Lawson, 3 as Gemma Fox and 9 as Sue Welfare), two of which are currently under development for TV.
Her comedy ‘Write Back Home’ was part of the 1999 Channel Four Sitcom Festival.
Most recently Sue has been working to create ‘WriteOutLoud’ a project to help people write about their own lives.
Sue also does some fantastic crafts, rug making, knitting, bag making just to name a few – some of her recent mosaics are really beautiful.
I met Sue on Facebook on a page created for all writers, published and amateur to post their short stories and poems…take part in weekly comps (no prizes) for a bit of fun that gave us experience in writing on a subject at short notice with constructive criticism and help as a bonus.
Sue is always so busy so many things on the go at once, it amazes me that she ever gets any one thing completed, let alone books written and published. In my view, Sue is a true inspiration to all writers.
And now my review:
Sarah works for a magazine which is showing all the signs of closing down and farming jobs out to freelancers. Sarah is the bread winner of the family of four, since her husband Colin decided to quit his job to write a book…a book which never seems to materialise but gives him endless excuses for not helping with the housework, children and bringing in an income. One morning after taking her sons Alex and Harry to school, Sarah pops back home to grab something she had forgotten. The shock of finding her next door neighbour Peony, dancing on the upstairs landing wearing Sarah’s dressing gown and performing some questionable dance steps with a stuffed rabbit that belonged to one of the little boys. Colin lay naked on their bed waiting for the delights promised him by Peony.
Devastated it takes Sarah some days to come to the decision she must end the marriage and go it alone.
Her friend Melissa at work has a distant relative who would like to rent his cottage that sits in the grounds of his extensive estate complete with mansion…Kit is asset rich but cash poor – and as Sarah discovers later, extremely good looking – a real hunk.
She puts the house on the market and Colin on notice that he needs to find somewhere else to live. Sarah and her boys move to the cottage and set up home. Kit becomes a good friend to the little boys, due to the fact he has not lost his ‘boyishness’ himself and finds fun in everything around him.
One of the directors of the magazine, Magna offers Sarah a job with her advertising production company. Magna loves the mansion as well as its owner. After a photo shoot of Kit as the star, Magna comes up with the idea of a cooking show for TV based on the lunch Kit had convinced Sarah to prepare for Magna’s visit. The twist is that Kit claimed to have cooked the lunch himself.
With much coercion Sarah agrees to teach him how to cook, and have the kitchen which has been fully decked out with the best equipment possible by the smitten Magna, set up with the ingredients ready for him to throw together in front of the cameras. It appears he was born with a wooden spoon in his hand instead of a silver one. The cooking lessons help to build a firm friendship between Sarah and Kit.
In the meantime, Sarah battles to tie up the loose ends of her broken marriage. She meets and is attracted to a local man called Shaun but unfortunately he seems to have loose ends of his own to tie up. The romance has not much chance to get off the ground and Sarah despairs of ever finding peace and love again.
But as we all know that life throws up problems and hurdles before providing a solution and little by little things fall into place for Sarah and her two delightful little boys.
This is a delightful story full of lovable characters and a nice story line. Not an ordinary run-of-the-mill romance tale, it will surprise and please.
At the beginning of each chapter, the addition of a favourite recipe donated by family and friends and by Sue herself, gives the reader a nice little surprise. I have personally tried some of the recipes and can vouch for them especially the Vanilla Ice Cream which is to die for. Very rich and sweet but served with fruit it is scrumptious!
I found Cooking Up A Storm to be a page turner and well worth the read.