Oct 6, 2009

The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb

The Banks family has a very comfortable life with few worries. They live in the ultra affluent neighborhood of Bedford, New York, one hamlet over from where Martha Stewart lives. Nora and Evan Banks have three young children that attend private school, a nanny, fancy cars, and a large, beautiful estate with all of the luxuries that entails. It's very easy to get caught up in the lifestyle her husband's Wall Street job provides. Nora never questions Evan about finances and such, she simply allows him to have total control over that aspect of their life.

Nora seems to have the perfect life until one November morning when the Feds show up at their door before dawn to arrest Evan for various white collar crimes. Nora is caught completely off guard, having put all of her trust in Evan without question. Now, with Evan facing serious jail time and their finances frozen, Nora is left to not only come to terms with having a husband who broke the law, but she also has to find a way to provide for her boys and try to keep them in the lifestyle they are accustomed to. She decides to fall back on her love of baking and with the help of Beatriz, her nanny, and a few friends, she is soon baking her way out of her problems. But Nora soon learns what it's like to be on 'the outside' of Bedford society. She begins a journey that will teach her what is truly important in life and she learns some things about herself along the way.

My thoughts:

When I started reading THE SUMMER KITCHEN, Karen Weinreb's debut novel, I immediately felt I was going to like Nora. She seemed different than the other Bedford wives in that she didn't seem to be as . . . snobby, for lack of a better word. And though I kept that feeling for her throughout the book, I can't say that I related to her at all. Obviously, I don't live in that kind of lifestyle and I don't know any women who do, for that matter, so it was hard to put myself in her shoes. I liked the premise of the story about a woman trying to put her life back together after her husband's arrest, and the inner strength she discovers, however, I was expecting something with a little more depth. The story just didn't move me like I thought it would. I don't want to say too much for those who have yet to read it, but for me, the plot fell a little flat. I found parts of the story just weren't realistic for me. For instance, after her husband is arrested, Nora suffers another devastating loss and I was disappointed that this event was hardly addressed at all. I felt such an incident should've had more of an impact on Nora, which might have given me a more emotional connection to her. However, there was more focus on her sexual fantasies with one of the other husbands, than of the losses she endured. I also felt the story was forced at times -like the author was trying to make certain points before the end of the book. Speaking of the ending, although it was satisfying for the most part, it all just seemed a bit unbelievable to me.

THE SUMMER KITCHEN is light women's fiction, that unfortunately, didn't leave any lasting impression on me. I'd like to thank Nicole at Authors On The Web for sending me this book to review. If you've read this book please post a link in the comment section and I'll add it to this review. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Visit Karen Weinreb's website here.

Author: Karen Weinreb
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Published: July 2009
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars out of 5 (It was just OK)


  1. I've been wanting to read this, but hadn't gotten around to picking up a copy. Love the honest review!

  2. It's too bad this book didn't live up to it's potential.

  3. I love the cover, title and possibilities of this book and am sorry to hear that it wasn't what you expected. I have it on my wishlist and plan to read it.

  4. Too bad this book didn't live up to it's potential as Kathy said especially as it's sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

  5. The cover feels so homey, too bad the story wasn't.

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  7. As I was reading your review I liked where the story was going but then I made a face at the white collar crime part. A tad predictible to say the least. Sorry this one didn't leave a lasting impression. I call these types of books "bridge" books because they take you from one good read to another yet in and of themselves they are sort of shallow (for lack of a better word).

  8. Sorry this one was a bit disappointing. I like the cover, though.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  9. Thanks for the review, I will definitely not waste my time on this book then, because life is too short.


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