Review of Dining with Joy

From time to time, I like to post book reviews of what I'm reading. Today's review is of Rachel Hauck's Dining with Joy. Rachel is an active ACFW member, works with My Book Therapy, and is pretty much an all-around wonderful person. You may have read some of her other books, including The Sweet By and By, which she wrote with Sara Evans. So without further ado, here's the review. (Just call me Dr. Seuss.)

Joy Ballard is living every cooking host’s dream. Her culinary show has just been picked up by a major network, opening up the possibility of stardom. Only problem? She doesn’t know how to cook. What Joy doesn’t realize is that her ultimate humiliation could also lead to her greatest dreams.

This novel by Rachel Hauck is sure to rank among her previous honors, which include finaling in the RITA Awards, winning the ACFW Book of the Year Award, and being chosen for the Top Pick Book Reviews by The Romantic Times.

In fact, #1 New York Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber says, “Rachel Hauck's stories are filled with twists and turns that leave the reader breathless and longing for more. She is a fresh fiction voice will stir hearts for God,” according to Hauck’s website.

Readers will be drawn in by Hauck’s unique ability to construct a storyworld that tells both the literal and the figurative story. In Dining with Joy, something as simple as a drive through lowcountry South Carolina is never just a drive, but signifies a progression in the characters’ lives.

Similarly, the characters are exceptionally well-crafted. Readers will enjoy seeing several characters’ perspectives written into the book, especially when these different perspectives show the complexities of the problems between Joy and her beau, Luke Redmond. The banter between these two as they flirt their way into romance is witty and charming.

When Luke doubts his camera presence, for instance, he says, “I feel like a talking brick,” to which Joy responds with laughter, “I was thinking cardboard, but brick is good.”

The tension spikes as Joy’s archnemesis in the foodie world, Wenda Devine, reveals Joy’s secret on national television. Luke must decide whether he truly loves Joy, since she’s ruined his reputation as a legitimate chef, and Joy has a few decisions of her own. She has to find the inner strength to move beyond the promise she made to her dying father before inheriting his cooking show.

Dining with Joy shows the rich flavors of trusting God’s plan, particularly when it comes to romance. While the book takes up deeper issues like teen abstinence and self-worth, the Southern tone is sweeter than the tea the characters drink and is sure to leave readers feeling . . . well, joy.

You can find Rachel Hauck on Facebook, Twitter, or her website

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