commercial fiction · Hachette · Hodder and Stoughton · Hodder Fiction · Women's Fiction

The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club by Chrissie Manby



In the quaint seaside town of Newbay, a beginner’s cookery course is starting. And three very different students have signed up . . .

Liz’s husband has left her for a twenty-something clean-eating blogger, and she’s determined to show the world – and her daughter – she’s just as capable in the kitchen. John, newly widowed after fifty years of marriage, can’t live on sympathy lasagnes forever. To thirty-year-old workaholic Bella, the course is a welcome escape from her high-pressure job. Their only common ground: between them, they can barely boil an egg!

Enter talented chef Alex, who is determined to introduce his pupils to the comforts of cuisine. As Liz, John and Bella encounter various disasters in the kitchen, the unlikely trio soon form a fast friendship. Their culinary skills might be catastrophic – but could the cookery club have given them a recipe for happiness?

I have to admit, after reading Obsession by Amanda Prowse, I found it difficult to read a book and finish it. Call it a readers block if you wish… It was frustrating. I was lucky to have been given a chance to read this title, thanks to Hodder Fiction and I read it in two sittings! We have three very different characters: Liz, Bella and John with different sets of circumstances come together through the shared desire to learn how to cook. This of course is only possible for them by Alex opening up a cookery course.

What was so beautiful about this novel was that food bought the characters together. You have Liz who desperately tried to get in her 15-year-old daughter, Saskia’s good books by trying to live up to her ‘healthy eating’ expectations (which has been influenced by her father’s girlfriend, Brittany). Despite going through a separation with husband Ian and feeling as though she is loosing Saskia (and her dog Ted to obesity), Liz tried to take control of her life in whatever little way she can. Though Alex’s cookery class she makes three new friends and learns to appreciate the art of cooking rather than opting for Sainsbury’s ready meals.

Then you have Bella whose father had a dream of bringing the Italian cuisine to their current residency: Newbay. The little Italian cafe, known as Bella’s was Bella’s father’s pride and joy, however it didn’t last long. With the death of her father three years of the cafe going bust, Bella promised her mother she would seek a respectable, high-paying job ┬áso she’d never have to experience the poverty her mother experienced. Things change for Bella through the cookery course. She realises she has an unwavering passion for italian cuisine and decides to take a different direction in her life. Along that self-discovery, she also finds love.

Then there’s John who lost his beloved wife, Sonia and had never cooked a day in his life. He joins the cookery course to learn a few recipes and to more importantly, become self-reliant when it came to meals. He learns his all-time favourite: beef wellington and makes friends with Bella, Liz and Alex. Despite this, we understand that John has an uneasy relationship with his son. Meeting Alex and taking part in his cookery course allows John to realise that everyone deserves second chances, including his son.

This novel has friendship at its heart. This friendship is brought together through the shared interest in learning about cooking. It is this cookery course that helps each character find their way in their own lives. The plot and subplots worked very together to create a seamless story whilst including all the intricate details of what I believe all good novels should have.

It was an absolute pleasure to read. I’d like to thank Hodder Fiction for giving me the chance to review this novel for an honest review.

The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club will be published in September 2017 by Hodder and Stoughton.