Ooh! It's time for a new segment here on the blog that as yet has no name (anybody want to get creative for me?). I read way more than I should (although now that I'm writing, I get to call it "reserach," and I feel less guilty about that), so why not share the awesome stuff I get to lay eyes on every day?

Now, I don't know the "rules" for posting book reviews, so I'm just going to tell y'all what I liked about it. Does that work? If it doesn't you can quit reading now. I won't know you quit, so it won't hurt my feelings. (Unless you tell me, and then it might hurt my feelings. So don't tell me.)

Well, I just finished Kaye Dacus's latest, Menu for Romance. It's the second book in her Brides of Bonneterre series.

And I hated to see it end. I know that's cliche', but it's true.

I read the first book, Stand in Groom a couple of months ago, and I was thrilled to see Anne and George from that book make some hefty appearances in this one. While this is not a sequel, it did continue the previous story in some of the subplots. I loved that, since I always hate to put down a good book and wish I'd seen more of what happened after the ending. Kaye Dacus gave us a bit of a sneak peek into the continuing lives of her previous protagonists. Nice.

This second book focuses on Anne's cousin Meredith and family friend/employee Chef Major O'Hara. (And truly, the only problem I had with the whole book was the name Major. Because of my proximity to the Army, I kept picturing him as military, crew cut and all. There's a reason for his name, so don't let my mental images throw you off...) Folks, these two love each other but things--namely things within themselves--are keeping them apart. (Oh, and handsome contractor Ward Breaux isn't helping matters any.) Yes, it's a classic romance plot. But there is a reason that plot is classic: it works. And Kaye Dacus makes it work here. I cared a whole lot about Major and Meredith, and I found myself sympathizing a lot with Major, which made me like him all the more. His mother is a doozie of a woman who made me laugh and want to cry, sometimes all in the same sentence. She came awfully close to being my favorite character. But it was her son that ultimately "stole my heart."

To me, this is Major's story. Here's a man who is staring into the face of his dream job, his dream woman, and even his dream kitchen... and something stands in the way of all of it. Actually, one single thing stands in the way of all of it. But, Major? Are you sure the "one thing" is what you think it is?

The climax of the novel comes from a direction I did not expect at all. In fact, Ms. Dacus made me suspect I knew what was coming... then she threw me a curveball. I think I fell in love with her for doing that. I was doing a mental sigh thinking I could see the cliche' coming a mile away, but the cliche' never came. That rocked, and may well have been my favorite thing about the book. I actually set the book down, looked at my husband and said, "She just didn't do the thing I thought she was going to do, and it was so cool!"

So, yes. I say, spend some time with Major and Meredith. (Who I only just realized have the same first initial.) It's a wonderful trip to Louisiana.

And, after all, who doesn't love a man who cooks?

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