Title: The Promise Kitchen
Author: Peggy Lampman
Publication: August 16, 2016/June 25, 2015 (Kindle Edition/Kindle Unlimited Edition)
With The Promise Kitchen I spent half the book wondering what I thought of it. It kept changing on me. It starts off strange with the one POV character (Shelby) and her mother trying to save money by burying two people in the same urn. Which was not what I expected when I saw this on the “Recommend for you” scroll on my Kindle. Still, I decided to continue to read it. AFter all, I’m sure there was a point to why this scene was included.
The story is about two women named Shelby and Mallory and how their lives change drastically over a year. Shelby is a single mother of a daughter and lives with her mother, daughter and a Jackalope in a poorer community in lower Georgia. Mallory comes from more affluent background, and lives as a food reporter in Atlanta. They both start out the year with a big change.
Shelby gets a job at Grassos, an Atlanta based grocery chain that offers to pay for culinary school. This is a step in the direction she wants to go to provide her daughter with a better life, but it does mean leaving her daughter for weeks at a time when she works in Atlanta (there is a 3 hour drive between Atlanta and home).
Mallory on the other hand, is having job issues of her own as her newspaper folds and decides to become a digital only company. She barely retains her job in the transfer and has to double her job description while getting a pay cut. And the man she believes to be the love of her life randomly left her.
Throughout the book the two women’s life criss cross without really meeting till halfway through the book when they are involved in a car accident. Then both of their lives change quite a bit. Mallory ends up going on a tailspin that wakes her up to ongoing problems, while Shelby seemingly loses everything
Its better than I can summarize, and surprisingly, there was a point to the first scene, if its only brought up again at the very end. The only issues I had with the book were the quick time changes where weeks would go by. Clearly this has to happen to get through a year but at times it seemed a little confusing as to what had happened.
The summary on the back is a little misleading, as I kept thinking the two women’s lives would be more integrated. I did enjoy it. From what I was reading, this is Peggy Lampman’s first novel, and I’ll be interested in seeing what else she may write. For now it seems like she is primarily focused on her food blog.
It was also originally published with the title Simmer and Smoke and contains several recipes at the end.