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When in Doubt, Add Butter | [Beth Harbison]

When in Doubt, Add Butter

As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At 37, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full. For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past.
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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.

As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At 37, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and - oh yes - butter.

©2012 Beth Harbison (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (129 )
5 star
 (39)
4 star
 (45)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.8 (117 )
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4 star
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3 star
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Story
4.1 (118 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Erin DeAnjou 08-31-12 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    19
    5
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    "Predictable but Very Enjoyable"
    If you could sum up When in Doubt, Add Butter in three words, what would they be?

    May induce appetite.


    What does Orlagh Cassidy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love the personality Orlagh brings to the characters.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, just some laughs and smiles with a few heart warming moments thrown in.


    Any additional comments?

    Great choice when you need a break between heavier books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P Pullman, WA, United States 08-13-12
    P Pullman, WA, United States 08-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable listen; marvelous narrator"

    More depth than typical for this sort of book. Fairly predictable but not stupidly so. I enjoyed the book and appreciated the fine narration. Characterization was mostly strong. Reminded me, sort-of, of Barbara O'Neal's writing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JulieAnn albuquerque, NM, United States 08-13-12
    JulieAnn albuquerque, NM, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "good listen"

    Excellent book to listen to. I thought the performance was great and narrator also made me laugh. Description of the different clients the cater had was great.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindapet2 Corrales, NM, United States 09-03-12
    Lindapet2 Corrales, NM, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    10
    3
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    "A Super Summer Read"

    What a slice of life in one super read. I did not want this story to end. Orlagh Cassidey, as always, a voice that I could listen to all day.
    Reading a story is one thing but when listening to a story the narration is what helps to develop the characters, the surroundings...the story. I have listened to all books by BH and look forward to the next!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 09-09-14
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 09-09-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Frustrating Read"

    This is my first Beth Harbison book. I am not sure I will try her other books. Ms. Harbison creates very interesting characters and the dialog is often witty and humorous. Several critical components necessary to a good book are there. But the interesting characters were unfortunately the secondary characters and they were not utilized fully. This was one of those books that when you finished it, you had no interest in learning what happened next to the main characters, but felt a mild curiosity about some of the secondary ones' futures.

    There were three critical flaws with the plot. First, the first half of the book meanders along with basically no plot. She introduces eccentric characters, has some funny dialog, but there is really no story there. Then once she gets to the main relationship of the book, she rushes through it so rapidly, it makes absolutely no sense. She spends so little time on the budding relationship between Gemma and Mac it is hard for the reader to accept that in the last 30 minutes of the audiobook they realize they are madly in love, willing to make major changes in their lives and he accepts what she has been hiding as if it is no big deal. They were virtual strangers. There was no relationship there one minute and the next, they were soul mates who lived happily ever after.

    The second flaw was that she did create sympathetic secondary characters and Gemma makes some pretty strong commitments to some of them. Commitments that she evidently abandons, based on the epilogue. That makes Gemma unsympathetic and dislike-able to me. Other characters you become interested in either just disappear or you get a rushed update on them in the epilogue that doesn't bring closure to the characters, and actually seem so out of character you wonder if she forgot what she had written about them previously.

    Finally, plots based on coincidences, poor timing, and a characters inability to clear things up when they first get the chance are almost always weak. This was no exception. It was so obvious who the mysterious Mac was it was hard to accept that Gemma really couldn't figure it out. This book would have been much more entertaining if the focus was on building the relationship between the two characters, not on the number of times they "almost" figured it out. It all seemed artificial and contrived.

    I finished this book with a sense that the author sat down to write a book that could be narrated in 7 hours and 55 minutes. Shed dilly dallied along with her characters until she looked at the clock, realized she had already written 7 hours and 25 minutes of content and spent the remaining 30 minutes developing and adding an actual plot, bringing it to a conclusion and writing an epilogue.

    I've read enough "Chick Lit" to know that they often spend more time on the main characters "inner thoughts" than an actual plot. That can work if the main character's "inner thoughts" are remotely interesting. In this book, they weren't.

    The narration was very good. If it had not been I would not have finished this book.





    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Didi Georgia 06-23-14
    E. Didi Georgia 06-23-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Predictable Fun - Audio Book Comfort Food"
    Would you listen to When in Doubt, Add Butter again? Why?

    Maybe, if I wanted something mindless to zone out to again. It's not the kind of book that really merits more than one listen otherwise.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I was rather fond of the crazy Russians, and wish there had been more of them. I would love to read a book just about Vlad's crazy psychic adventures and clients.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not any one scene in particular, but the mini-scenes of cooking in general were great. Harbison has a gift for describing delicious meals, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't inspire me to do a little extra baking of my own.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    You pretty much know exactly what's going to happen next, so it's not one where you're glued to the story. It's funny and nice enough though that I was happy to listen to it fairly quickly, as just a thing to have on in the background.


    Any additional comments?

    Cassidy has a nice narration overall, but she had a bad habit of giving certain characters extremely nasal voices. This can be pretty grating at times.

    As a side note, the audiobook only has a little explicit sex (chapter 4, I think?), but has enough adult language and situations I wouldn't listen to it on speaker around teens or conservative older people. It was still a lot of fun though, that's just an FYI for anyone trying to figure out what they can safely play around grandma (or not).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brittany Sonora, CA, United States 12-27-13
    Brittany Sonora, CA, United States 12-27-13
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    "Great feel good book"
    Where does When in Doubt, Add Butter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Loved it! in my top 5 for sure


    Have you listened to any of Orlagh Cassidy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    not yet but I will now


    Any additional comments?

    Such a great story I loved how they connected and you hoped it was him but still weren't quite sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Waynesville, NC, United States 12-23-13
    Terry Waynesville, NC, United States 12-23-13 Member Since 2009

    TerryRose

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    11
    Overall
    Performance
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    "I want to cook for people!"
    Any additional comments?

    It's always a wonderful feeling when you stumble across a new author. What a delightful read. Yes, it was a bit predictable, but I found the characters that Gemma cooked for to be quirky and delightful. Where else could you run over a peacock and still laugh yourself silly? Of course, it was easy to figure out where the story was going, but the ride to the destination was still fun. Can't wait to read the next Beth Harbison in my library!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LaChandra CROSSETT, AR, United States 10-17-13
    LaChandra CROSSETT, AR, United States 10-17-13
    ratings
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    39
    3
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    "Enjoyed"
    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it in 2 days. I really like the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Arena Elmsford, NY 10-08-13
    Lois Arena Elmsford, NY 10-08-13 Member Since 2007

    Series lover

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BORING"
    What disappointed you about When in Doubt, Add Butter?

    Very boring with no real story.


    What could Beth Harbison have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Instead of one person telling a story like it's a diary, I would have liked more characters.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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