Beau St. Clair is a chef. He has returned to his hometown to lick his wounds after getting a divorce from his cheating husband. Beau finds a small garage apartment to rent and settles in. His landlady suggests he advertise himself on Craig’s List as a personal chef to make some extra cash. Soon, a lady named Maisie gives him a call. Her son, Jack, is a shut in. Jack had been a successful attourney before a violent event left him hospitalized with no memory of what happened before that event. Jack is an bitter, angry man, and Maisie is concerned because he won’t eat or leave his room. She also hopes that Jack may actually begin to enjoy the food Beau prepares, and that it may bring him out and help him begin to come back to himself. As you can guess, it doesn’t go very well…at first.
Beau refuses to give up, and before long he’s coming to the house with food, even though Jack doesn’t want him there. Also…Beau has remembered something very important and hopes he can help Jack remember something as well.
I really enjoyed Dinner at Jack’s. It had a nice, steady pace with plenty of detail. I was able to actually SEE the little town of Fawcettville, Ohio. I should say here, Rick R. Reed is from East Liverpool, Ohio, and that is about an hour away from the town of Bellaire, Ohio, where I grew up. I’ve been to East Liverpool several times and I can tell you, Fawcettviille brought back some memories…and made me a little homesick.
I also loved Beau. I really felt for him after he discovers his husband was cheating. Poor guy didn’t have a clue. Jack was a little harder to get used to. I was mad he was so mean to his mother, who only wanted to take care of him. I understand bitterness, but I wanted to hug Maisie and tell her everything would be fine.
My frostiness began to melt as I got a peek into his life. It’s pretty obvious Jack’s suffering from PTSD and he needs help. I loved how Beau was patient with him. I have to say, he was WAY more patient than I’d have been. It was wonderful to watch the two men find their way to each other, and to watch Jack come out of his shell (and his room). That road was not a smooth one, but that is part of the reason this was such a great story. Yes, insta-love and jumping straight into bed is great, and they have their place, but that wouldn’t have been prudent here. Jack and Beau needed the time to recognize their feelings for each other before the hearts and flowers appeared.
There were some pretty great background characters here. Maisie was so sad and sweet, but she obviously loved her son. Jack’s father was gruff and cranky, but he eventually showed himself to be a really good guy. Daisy (funny how I didn’t give much thought to the fact that rhymed with Maisie), Jack’s landlady was charming and funny, and then there was Ruth…Jack’s pug. She was a little bit of comic relief, but more than that, she was the life raft Jack could cling to as his world fell apart and put itself back together again.
I mentioned a memory. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I WILL tell you it was a good one, and I thought Reed created something beautiful. I was chomping at the bit for it to be resolved, but it was so worth the wait.
All in all, Dinner at Jack’s is an awesome book. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance. OH! And some really delicious recipes are included, and I can’t wait to try them! 😀
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.