Hello all! Today (or tonight, I should say) I will be reviewing While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
From the back cover: After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910,
Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have
the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on
the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't
mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to
perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her
crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those
convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel
Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this
outspoken young woman.
When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?
Where to start with this book? Well, from the beginning I wasn't entirely certain. I'm not the most romantic of readers, so I wasn't sure what to think of this book when I requested it, but it intrigued me enough that I did. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise! This wasn't your average historical romance, that's for sure. There were nights when I had decided to read one chapter before going to sleep, and instead I found myself reading 'just one more' for several chapters more. If a book can keep me up late, it's a keeper.
First there's the plot. I love food. I mean, if you don't then I don't see how you're living right now. The main character is an accomplished cook, and the book showcases her abilities... describing delightful foods that are liable to make your mouth water. Mmm. But in 1910 it's hard for a woman to find a professional cooking position--especially as a chef. She runs into Doctor Joel Brooks and immediately the fire starts popping. Those two just don't mesh well at all! Exciting things start to happen. She gets a traveling job and meets a sweet young man with a beautiful voice, but she can't seem to avoid the man she can't speak to without getting into an argument. And THEN she has to plan a charity ball with him? Uh oh! Besides the main plot, there is also an interesting subplot regarding to Charlotte's younger sister, Tessa, and the shenanigans she gets herself into at the local theater. I found this subplot just are riveting as the main plot, and I admit, that may be because of my love of the arts (and Peter Pan!!!! which is featured in the story.)
The characters were equally enjoyable. I found myself feeling for them in their moments of disappointment, heart ache, and joy. Charlotte was a fun character. While she was feisty, she also had a heart for service that isn't always shown in a novel. Joel was also interesting. Sometimes I wanted to shake him, but he had many admirable qualities himself. Tessa was my favorite, I think. Maybe because she's similar to me in some ways. I can't wait to see her story.
I liked how the book wasn't just fluff as you so often see. There's was a deeper message, including how some of the characters had a need to control their situations, and what comes of that, and how God always knows how to fill our vessels when we need them. I enjoyed seeing how little strings were dropped in the beginning or middle of the book that you wouldn't really think about, but at the end everything found itself tied up and making sense. I find that an admirable quality. I also liked all the history incorporated into the story. I didn't know when I requested this book that it was a sequel, and now I know I need to get the first one. Though this one was stand alone, I enjoyed it so much, I want to read the first.
So yes, I enjoyed this book! And I will be passing it on to my mother to see if she agrees with my hypothesis.
Buy it here.
~ a rambling author