Shelby Preston, a young single mother, is at a crossroads. She feels suffocated by her hardscrabble life in rural Georgia and dreams of becoming a professional chef. Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.
In Atlanta, Mallory Lakes is reeling from a bad breakup. The newspaper food columnist is also bracing for major changes at work that could put her job at risk. Determined to find the perfect recipe for how to reinvent herself, she gets involved in the growing farm-to-table movement. But an emotional setback threatens to derail everything she’s worked for.
Shelby and Mallory couldn’t be more different. But through their shared passion for food, they form an unlikely friendship—a bond that just might be their salvation. This heartwarming and lyrical tale reminds us that family isn’t necessarily whom you’re related to—it’s whom you invite to your table.
The Promise Kitchen was first published under the title Simmer and Smoke in 2015. That cover of that edition is far more suitable to this present cover. This cover implies frivolous and sweetness and light, and that just doesn’t match the gutsy women and the southern life and their cooking.
This is the story of Shelby – wanting to be a chef par excellence, yet ground down in a small backwater place where dreams are hard to realise. She has a daughter (Ann, and my favorite character) about eight years old. They live with Shelby’s mother and partner Lester. Shelby’s mother has dreams too, she wants to restart up the hair dressing business she loved once. When Shelby gets a chance to develop her skills in Atlanta – her mother cares for her daughter while she is away.
Mallory is a food blogger, far wealthier than Shelby, but not happy really, she hasn’t found that place within her, where she knows she is home. Shelby looks up to Mallory and follows her recipes and thinks it is amazing to actually meet her. When an accident occurs it turns Mallory’s life upside down, she experiences guilt and the need to make reparation. Eventually the lives of Shelby and Mallory intertwine and together they move forward.
This is a story of family, friendship and going after your dreams. It is about second chances and over coming weakness that has crept in. While I wasn’t drawn to the southern food, the characters snuck up on me and I grew to care about them and cheer them on.