the promise kitchen book coverReviewed by Amanda Schafer

Shelby is a small-town girl who has big dreams. Her daughter Miss Ann is her life and she has plans to get both of them out of their small town. But to do that, Shelby has to sacrifice: she has to move to Atlanta so she can receive training on how to be a chef. Her goal is to become a chef so that Miss Ann can come live with her and they can be done with small town life. But working at Grasso’s and taking classes on the side is a very slow way to make her dreams come true. However, along the way, she becomes close friends with Tracy and Clare, owners of Squash Blossom Farms. Tracy and Clare help her find herself and realize exactly what her priorities should be.

When Mallory is tasked with taking on the food section of AtlantaNow, she’s overjoyed that she at least still has a job! She dives in doing a post each day, describing the food she makes and where she gets her ingredients. Fans are loving her and she’s gaining popularity rapidly. Her best friend, Itchy, works at Grasso’s in the wine department and they love to get together and talk food and wine. One evening, after a local wine tasting, Mallory and Itchy are on their way home when they hit a person on a bicycle. Thankfully, he doesn’t die, but Mallory can’t seem to stop the downward spiral that the accident placed her on. When Tracy and Shelby come upon the accident and see that Mallory is the one who hit the man, things begin to shift for all of them.

As Mallory’s attitude gets worse and worse, Shelby ends up finding out what is most important in her life. Mallory begins to derail and Shelby finds her true course. Suddenly, Miss Ann goes missing after a punishment from her Grandma and Shelby and Mallory’s lives collide again.

As a first time novel for Peggy Lampman, The Promise Kitchen isn’t too bad. It was really quite awkward at the beginning, though. The story line between Shelby and her mother was odd. Mallory and Itchy actually became really annoying in their attitudes and uppity-ness. In the end, the story ends a bit too perfectly. There were a couple of aspects regarding Mallory’s back-story that seemed to be missing…I kept wondering if I was reading the second book in a series. I wouldn’t mind reading Lampman’s next novel, but I won’t necessarily search for it.

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Peggy Lampman. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.