cover image Cover the Butter

Cover the Butter

Carrie Kabak, Author . Dutton $23.95 (355p) ISBN 978-0-525-94876-6

Kabak's debut, set in Wales, covers familiar familial territory. When 40-something Kate Cadogan arrives home to find her house trashed by her teenage son, Charlie, she succumbs to a long overdue need to take stock of her desperate housewife life. We revisit Kate from her 1970s teenhood forward: her mother Biddy's cold and obtrusive "controlling passion" rules the family roost and dictates everything from Kate's clothes to her intended career, while her father is devoted but feckless. Kate is buoyed by a cast of sympathetic and supportive characters: her diehard friends Ingrid and Moira, her sweet and knowing grandparents Magmu and Griff and her aunt Oona, a kindred spirit. After a disastrous but passionate relationship, Kate meets businessman Rodney Fanshaw. All is well, but "Rodders" ignores her wish to work, is even more inconsiderate in bed and spends more time at sport than at home, leaving Kate lonely. Dejected and depressed, Kate pours herself into house and child until the moment in the prologue when she breaks down. The dialogue is chick-lit generic but exact; scenes play out fluidly and are nicely detailed, particularly in Kate's sophisticated foodyism. Kabak doesn't provide the frisson of the racy TV mockudrama, but she does tell Kate's story with warmth and humor. Agent, Zoe Pagnamenta. (June 20)