Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell
Published by Bantam
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Genres: Women's Fiction
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On 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.
I’ve read and enjoyed Whitney Gaskell’s writing before, so I was looking forward to reading Table for Seven.
It features two couples and three single friends. Bring everyone together is Fran and Will Parrish. They’re having a New Year’s Eve party and in an effort to do something different, Fran preps a multi-course meal to count down to midnight. She’ll serve one course on the hour leading up to midnight. No one really wants to go, but they end up having so much fun they decide to start up a very informal dinner club, with someone different hosting every month.
I thought this was a very interesting set up. And with so many characters, the story flowed very well. There was no confusion of who or what because each person is going through something very different. Will and Fran have been married for just under 20 years. Fran’s world is rocked that New Year’s day when Will tells her to invite Cooper, his best friend. You see, Fran and Cooper had a moment very early on in her marriage. Nothing happened…but she thinks if Will hadn’t woken up when he did that day on the boat that Cooper would have kissed her. Ever since then, she’s kind of had a little teeny tiny flame going for Cooper. They haven’t seen him too much over the years and she’s excited to learn he’s moved to their coastal town. Maybe too excited?
The other couple is Jaime and Mark. She’s his second wife and she’s struggling with Mark’s schedule and his daughter’s demands on his time. They have two young children together but she feels Mark is always off for Emily’s tennis practice or tournaments. She thinks it’s too much time and wonders if that’s all he’s doing.
Audrey is Fran’s best friend. She owns a successful spa and she’s been a widow for 7 years. She’s sick of Fran’s attempts to set her up. Fran knows this so when she invites Audrey to that first dinner party, she doesn’t want Audrey to think she’s setting her up with Coop so Fran tells her he’s gay. LOL That led to a few funny moments. But Audrey has trouble opening up. Her first husband was an alcoholic and she’s refused to see the truth of her marriage…and that’s preventing her from opening up to anyone new. Coop hasn’t had a real, long-term relationship ever in his life. He’s definitely a bachelor through and through and he’s definitely intrigued by Audrey (especially at first when she was super friendly with him, thinking he was gay). But she refuses to date him and his persistence definitely challenges both of them and their beliefs about relationships.
The seventh member of the group is Leland. And he was my favorite. He’s a retired judge, in his 80s and he was a great character. He was a great observer of the group dynamics and he gave gentle nudges where they were needed. He loved bacon. Cute character.
So yeah, there were a few interesting things going on with this book. With Fran and Will, I was caught up in Will’s obliviousness to what was going on with his wife. She was taking better care of her appearance and working out and dressing better. Everyone noticed but Will. So her getting caught up in a fantasy flirtation with Cooper makes sense. And then you realize she’s getting ready to make a move and you just feel so bad for her, because you know he’s fallen for Audrey. And Audrey is so the opposite about being open with her feelings, she doesn’t even tell her best friend she slept with the guy. LOL I also enjoyed Jaime’s path she took. She was so sure her husband was cheating on her she even followed him at one point and there was nothing to see. She really matured as a character. Same with Audrey. She really didn’t want to deal with what happened with her husband and it was preventing her from moving on. It was so easy for her to rebuff Coop’s charm…something that made him try harder, something he hasn’t had to do in a while.
I liked all the characters (except one…and no one cared for him either) and I liked the way all the stories unfolded. Because the author did a good job of giving us pieces of each story I read this pretty quickly. It was very engaging and I recommend it for when you need a break from all the New Adult you’re reading. LOL
Table for Seven gets a 4 out of 5 from me.