Author: Whitney Gaskell
Publication Year: 2013
A warm and witty novel about friendship, fine dining, and learning that life doesn't always turn out quite how we expect it to--perfect for fans of Barbara O'Neal and Nancy ThayerOn New Year's Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.Over the course of a year, against a backdrop of mouthwatering meals, relationships are forged, marriages are tested, and the members of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club find their lives forever changed.
Table for Seven is a contemporary book about two couples and three singles who like to get together eating fancy dinner while catching up on their lives. This happened after a nice new year dinner hosted by one of the couples. Because the New Year dinner was a big hit, they decided to do the dinner party regularly and form a dinner club based on that. The title of the book itself is the name of the club. Each month they will pick a night to have dinner party. Each member takes turn to host the party. Besides fine dining, of course there will be gossips and fun chit chat between the members.
Since the club’s gathering happens once a month, each chapter of this book represent one month of the year. The chapter opens with a menu of the food that will be served by the host of that month dinner party. This lovely detail makes opening new chapter more exciting. The mouthwatering food list is a great addition to make the readers feel as if they were invited to the dinner party. Bits of cooking action here and there which incorporated into the story successfully made my stomach grumbling while reading this book.
Besides the food fiesta, Table for Seven is also about the dynamic between the members of the club. Each has their own problems. The first couple Fran and Will, who host the New Year dinner party, seems like the perfect couple. But beneath it, Fran feels unhappy because of the lack of passion in her marriage. It results in her involved in some sort of emotional affair. She starts to become more aware of her physical appearance. She starts work out and dresses differently. Her husband Will should notice the change, but he is too busy with his robot and takes Fran for granted.
The second couple, Jaime and Mark, has a little more complicated marriage life. Jaime is Mark’s second wife. From his first marriage, he has a daughter whom he’s proud of because of her achievement as a tennis player. In between his work and being a proud father of a tennis player, he almost has no time to spend with his current family. Tired and lonely, Jaime’s frustration grows into suspicion that Mark might have an affair with another woman.
Then there is Audrey, a widow who has been living in the past for too long. She can’t stop grieve after seven years passed after her husband’s car accident. Fran pushes her to go out more and starts dating again but she just has too much emotional baggage. Meanwhile Coop is an arrogant bachelor who always feels confident. His relationships never past the three month trial period. But after meeting a certain someone, he starts to rethink his life and considers settling down. Then the last member, Leland, is a perfect complement to the group. He is in his 80s and lives next door to Fran and Will. He’s the one that balance out all the craziness and the drama of the group. He is funny and wise. His presence completes the group.
Despite of having a big cast of characters, I think Gaskell did a good job in exploring each character’s problem. Through the dinner party, Gaskell shows each character’s personality without giving the reader any confusion of differentiating which character which. Though like most novels the conflict is caused by lack of communication, the situation that each character’s involved in makes it difficult to communicate and clear the misunderstanding.
Overall, Table for Seven is a fun contemporary read. I recommend this book for those who loves contemporary book about love, friendship, and food. One thing though, I would suggest to read it with your stomach full or at least prepare some snacks beforehand; because the food in this book sound delicious.