Set in present-day Washington, D.C., Bate’s engaging debut concerns 26-year-old Hannah Sugarman, who continues to let her overbearing, well-meaning parents dictate her life’s trajectory. After her disenchanted boyfriend, Adam Prescott, leaves her for her nemesis Millie Roberts, Hannah moves into Blake Fischer’s basement apartment. Eager to turn over a new leaf and egged on by her best friend Rachel, Hannah decides to covertly pursue her culinary dreams by hosting a series of imaginative— albeit illegal— supper clubs. After a series of mishaps render Hannah’s apartment unfit for guests, she and Rachel decide to utilize Blake’s impressive kitchen and home without his knowledge. Blake slowly transitions from landlord to friend, but as he works for a congressman and has political aspirations, it becomes clear that he’s against operating an unlicensed business and would never approve of Hannah’s secret life. As her business grows more popular, Hannah grapples with what to do. Bate’s writing is smart and compelling—especially as she chronicles why Hannah’s tedious think-tank job proves to be a wrong fit—and also captures the magic and frustration of dating a seemingly perfect guy who never has any time for Hannah. Even Bate’s implausible happy ending feels right. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012 Release date: 02/01/2013 Genre: Fiction
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