Thursday, February 13, 2014

THAT PART WAS TRUE by Deborah McKinlay

Delightful, delicious That Part Was True is a journey for two people and a reminder for us of the intimacy of words and the power of shared sensibilities.

Best selling American author Jackson Cooper has not only been successful but is also evidently still quite a hunk as his 50th birthday approaches.  He doesn’t lack for women after his wife has left him for a woman, and he has a good friend, Dex, who is on the verge of becoming a major movie star.   This plus money, a home in the Hamptons, a houseboy who tends to his needs, and beautiful blonde Adrienne aren’t enough.  Jack suffers from writer’s block, and the feeling that despite book sales he’s never written anything of value.  He turns his attention to cooking and soon becomes absorbed in it.

Clear across the pond lives Eve Petworth, a wealthy, long divorced woman of Jack’s age who lives a somewhat reclusive existence with her three-times-a-week housekeeper, Gwen.  Eve putters about her garden and cooks - she loves to cook.  Her daughter Izzy is about to be married which has simply increased Eve’s anxiety disorder to think of parties and the attendant nuptial plans.  Izzy is all but a stranger to her as she left the girl’s upbringing primarily to her late overbearing mother, Virginia, who wasted no words in describing Eve’s inadequacies.  The result was Eve believed what her mother said and continues to believe she is flawed even though her mother is no longer there to remind her.

Although Eve is certainly an unlikely candidate to pen a fan letter to an American detective novelist, this she does primarily to praise his description of a scene involving food.  Jack in turn is somewhat surprised to receive a handwritten letter from England, and he responds to it.  In this way the two discover their mutual love of food and cooking; a correspondence develops, a friendship blossoms.

Jack impulsively suggests that the two meet in Paris and enjoy a few days of gustatorial pleasures.  How impossible for Eve who suffers a panic attack even when going to London!  Or is it?

Filled with well-drawn characters, insightful revelations re emotional issues and the pleasures found in good food That Part Was True is a gem with a perfect finish.

- Gail Cooke

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