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Thyme Out

I'm quite pleased at the way my Foodie book challenge is going. I think I'm enjoying this slightly unusual challenge so much because you can read non-fiction or fiction as long as food is a major theme of the book. The Foodie challenge is being hosted by Margot at Joyfully Retired and runs all year. There are different levels of reading and I'm doing 'Bon Vivant' which is to read 4 to 6 books. Thyme Out by Katie Fforde is my book 3 so I'm about halfway through now, though I suspect I may end up reading more than 6.




Perdita Dylan is 29 years old, divorced for 10 years and running her own business. She grows and supplies unusual salad ingredients to local businesses - hotels, health spas - on land lent to her by her closest friend, Kitty. Kitty is 87 years old and practically brought Perdita up. Her parents were of the absent variety, always away on some trekking project or other, so Kitty has always been like a mother to Perdita and the two now live very happily as neighbours.

One morning, Perdita delivers the usual order of salad leaves to a local hotel and, to her horror, discovers that the chef has left and been replaced by her ex-husband, Lucas. The last she'd heard of him he was still 'something in the city' and she assumed he was still with the older woman he'd left her for, not cheffing in her neck of the woods. It has taken Perdita years to recover from the break-up and she is not happy in the slightest to see him.

The situation is not helped by the fact that Lucas has clearly turned into the chef from hell. He's demanding and truculent with his staff, and treats Perdita in the same manner. Perdita is furious at this turn her life has taken. She is not well off and has to work long hours for what little she does have, but at least she was content and happy growing her veg. Now things are complicated and difficult decisions have to be made. Is she really prepared to let Lucas inveigle her into making a TV cookery show with him?

Things come to a head when Kitty suffers a stroke. Roger, a long-lost relative of Kitty's turns up. At first he seems nice and it looks like he's there to help but slowly Perdita starts to suspect his motives. Who can she turn to for help as Kitty's situation worsens? The answer is obvious but unwelcome to Perdita as she's been trying to ignore her growing attraction for her ex-husband. There is no way she will allow him hurt her like he did before.

I suppose many would call Katie Fforde's books 'light, enjoyable reads' which, in some respects, they certainly are. The romantic aspect of this book is fun and 'funny' as we watch Perdita struggle with this ridiculous situation and try to keep everything together. It's clear she's kidding herself about her real feelings but on the other hand the reader feels for her because Lucas is actually a bit of a pig and, truthfully, you really don't know what to think about him as you read on.

The other side of the coin here is the sad situation with Perdita's friend, Kitty. It felt strange for me actually, because Kitty is so like my late mother-in-law in her quirkiness and obsession with gardening, that it was uncanny. Plus, the same thing happened to her in that she also had a stroke. So I could identify completely with the situation in the book. Kitty has always been there for Perdita and now it's the other way round - Perdita is the carer and has no idea what the future will hold. The uncertainty is no joke and forms the very real backdrop to what is, to all intents and purposes, a romance book. It makes it real and relevant but the book is never maudlin or depressing. Kitty's influence in her life is celebrated by Perdita; it's hard but she feels lucky to have had this wonderful woman in her life, and that was exactly the way I felt about my mother-in-law.

Being both a cook and, to a lesser extent, a gardener, I loved those elements of the story. Perdita can grow anything but can't cook to save her life. Thus, certain situations she finds herself in are hilarious - even if they are her own fault. And hearing about what goes on in a fine dining kitchen and also how a TV cookery show is put together made the book even more interesting for me.

I actually haven't read that many books by Katie Fforde... a couple I think... but they're always enjoyable. I don't remember the others being quite this thought provoking but that may be because I didn't identify with them quite as strongly as I did this one. I will certainly read more, as when I see them in the library.

Comments

I was just browsing back through your posts and saw this one - I've just read a couple of Katie Fforde books, though not this one, which sounds as though there might be a bit more to it. I enjoyed the fluff of "Highland Fling" and "Going Dutch", but I wasn't ultimately convinced by the former, and even the latter seemed a bit too easy, somehow... I didn't not enjoy them, I just wish they'd been a bit more, somehow. I shall have to try "Thyme Out", though...
I just wish they'd been a bit more, somehow.

I know exactly what you mean. Her books are exactly that, 'needing a bit more'. But it was odd as this one seemed to have a bit more. I actually wondered if she's been through this with an elderly relative and had more to go on.

The other thing about her books, which someone on my other blog pointed out... hang on I'll go get a link...
http://read-warbler.blogspot.com/2011/04/thyme-out.html
is that her romantic male leads can often be unpleasant characters. That was certainly so in Thyme Out, he had a nasty temper and was arrogant and demanding. I can't remember much about others she's written but have a feeling I had misgiving's about them too. Interesting and I wonder why Fforde does this.
Ah, interesting thought... I must admit I wasn't all that taken with the Highland Fling hero, and the Going Dutch one... *thinks back*... no, he wasn't my favourite male character in the book either... Then again, the heroine in Highland Fling made me want to shake her too... Hmmn!

On a slightly different subject - I've been wondering about having a separate blog to sort of list and record and ramble about the books I'm now (finally, again! *g*) reading - how do you find Blogspot? (I don't mean "follow the link"... *g*) Is it as easy and intuitive as Lj to use, and to connect with other people? It doesn't look like you can reply directly to comments, so presumably if you leave one somewhere you have to keep checking to see if the blogger has replied to you? Or...?
Well, I just downloaded another KF onto my Kindle, I think it's called, The Perfect Propsoal or something similar. When I get to it I'll bear this discussion in mind.

Blogspot. I like it a lot to be honest. But more for the people that hang out there, which is why I decided to replicate my bookblog over there. Since then it's become a bit more than a bookblog I suppose, but it's mainly about books and there so I can keep in contact with the friends I've made.

I find it very easy to use. Of course, like everything, you have to get used to it and work out how it works. *g* But really it's not much different to LJ. You can 'follow' people and that gives you what is basically a 'flist' on your dashboard page. You have to comment on posts by commenting on the actual webpage. Most blogs then have little box to tick where you can get replies by e.mail so that you know if someone has answered your comment. And for the actual owner of the blog all the comments come to your e.mail addy just like LJ.

It's very odd but I was only thinking to myself a few days ago that what you need is a Blogspot book blog and was going to suggest it. Let me know if you decide to go for it and I'll 'follow' you. Also I'm here to help if you get stuck, plus I'll send you some links to blogs that read similar books to us that I particularly like.
Oh that sounds alright then - it was keeping track of things that worried me, I could quite easily see myself losing grip if there wasn't something to nudge me! Not that I imagine many people reading - there are so many book blogs out there! - but I am going to start tutoring shortly, and amongst other things I thought it might be useful to have a place I could say "here's a list of books you might like" to students etc... And apart from not wanting to sign in and out of lj with different names, I'd need to keep it completely separate from fandom if I did let students see it... Nothing wrong with fandom, but it's very distracting! *g*

I'm off to do chores now, but perhaps I shall have a look again when I get home tonight - thank you! And ooh, yes please to the links, when I get there! *g*
Well, I've done it, and now I'm wandering around like a lost thing trying to work out things like icons and gadgets and... eep! *g*

I promise not to bug you too much with questions, but I very much like the "Currently reading" thingies that people seem to use in their sidebars, with a pic of the books they're reading/have recently read - is that a special widget that can be easily pinched from somewhere, or...?

I have managed to work out how to "follow" you, so if you see storiesforjennimen appear somewhere, that's me... (Hopefully I'll be hit by inspiration one day and come up with a better name!)

Oh, and I've just had notification that Court of the Air is waiting for me at the library - yeay!
Just a quickie as we have our grandson for the day today so I shouldn't be here at all really. ;-) But great that you took the plunge! Can you send me the URL to your new blog so that I can follow you back?

To do the Currently reading thing: First you need a pic of the book cover somewhere on your pc. (I use Amazon's pics.) Then go to 'Design' on your dashboard (one of the blue options). At the side of the designpage you should see 'add a gadget'. Click on that and you'll see loads of options. Click 'picture'. This'll bring up a frame. Put in a title, 'Currently reading' or something. Then click on the browse thingy and find the pic on your pc. Then click save. You'll see that gadget then on the side on the 'design' page. When you go to your main blog page it should be there on the side like mine. You can add all kinds of things, links, Amazon wishlist, a quote (the text gadget option). You can also shift them around.

Yaaaay, for Court of the Air! :-)
Ah, thank you - I'm all ready to add my first book! And it's http://storiesforjennimen.blogspot.com/

*g*