Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (12 April 2012)
When Rosie decides to get her friends together for their very own version of Come Dine With Me she’s bursting with excitement, even though her husband Stephen is less than keen. But Rosie is adamant. Four couples, each hosting a dinner party on a different night of the week, with a prize at the end for the best one. It’ll be a good laugh, won’t it? And a great way for everyone to get to know each other. What could possibly go wrong? What Rosie doesn’t anticipate are the lengths her fellow hosts might be prepared to go to in order to claim the prize — outlandish recipes, rare ingredients sourced from abroad, and a chocolate tart that looks just too good to be homemade…But perhaps she should be more worried about the mounting tension between the guests, as backbiting breaks out over the appetisers and a glass of wine too many leads to indiscreet flirtation. As the pressure in the kitchen rises, relationships begin to crack under strain, high-minded principles collide and the oven gloves come off…But that’s all part of the fun. Isn’t it?
The reader begins the round of dinner parties with Rosie and Stephen. While Rosie and Stephen are cooking, we get a brief look into what is happening with the other hosts. Right from the beginning, the cracks are beginning to show, not only under the tension of wanting to be the best but also the problems in their relationships.
The four dinner party hosts characters are stereotypical. Rosie and Stephen have a young son and are settled into early middle-age; Matt and Charlotte are both single with the type of selfishness that only comes from living alone; Justin and Barbara are vegetarians and protestors; Sarah and Marcus are the professional couple.
Narrated in the third person, this allows us to hear each characters thoughts as well as being present in their lives. It was interesting to see just how differently they perceived each other! I thought the author portrayed the characters brilliantly. We can all identify with the type of people they are and become emotionally involved with them.
As their stories being to emerge, the tensions and conflicts under the surface reach the light of day at each dinner. By the time the third dinner party was over, I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen at the final dinner! What would be the outcome?
Dinner at Mine is a clever concept and well executed. For me, it wasn’t about the competition but about the depth of the characters and how something as simple as a dinner party can provoke such emotions and open eyes to reality! A debut novel, I’ve enjoyed everything about this book and will certainly be watching out for further novels from this author.
A nice touch from the publishers, if you want to try your own Come Dine with Me-style dinner party, you can download a party pack so you can join in the fun!
I would like to thank the publishers, Simon & Schuster UK for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about the author on his author page with Simon & Schuster UK.