Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck

Genres: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance

Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320 Trade Paperback
Date Published: November 16th, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Chef” Joy Ballard longs for a simpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can’t cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhatten restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.

Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy’s secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.

But could Devine’s cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke–and her sister–forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?

I am in complete love with Rachel’s Low Country Romance series. These novels are calm yet romantically tense. The characters are real and quirky and the heroes are heart beating hunks on the page. I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Caroline, and Love Starts with Elle remains one of my favorite contemporary Christian romances to this day and ending with Dining with Joy I’m a content reader. (Oh! and I love the new covers too!!)

Beaufort, South Carolina is the place to be. Joy Ballard leads an interesting life as a faux cooking host for a show becoming more and more popular. Watching the relationship start from the first jingle of the diner door to on camera and cross country with Chef Luke Davis is beautiful and fun. Wondering how it will end and which way they will go when big decisions need to be made was tense. Side characters of Lyric, Rosie, and Anne-Rae bring life elements to the page. Plenty of space for discussion and conversation starters this is a great book for many people to enjoy.

I love Rachel’s narrative voice in this series and I cannot wait for more romantic journeys from her imagination in the future. Life decisions and following God’s will are not always easy, but watching these characters learn to listen is an inspiration for any reader’s own life. Reading about Joy Ballard, was truly a joy. 😉

*Thanks to Jeane Wynn of Wynn Wynn Media for providing an ARC for review.*

I do love the original covers, but the new ones for a matched set are pretty great too. Here so that you do not have to look elsewhere, also enjoy my reviews of the other Low Country Romance novels… (Originally written in 2008)

Sweet Caroline is quite the book, and she is quite the person. She is a normal human being, in a normal life. Tough decisions need to be made, and only Christ knows if she is making the right choices. This book grips your heart and doesn’t let it go. I love it from the heart-head-ear conversations to the screaming in my head what I thought she should do. 🙂 This story of a girl in her late twenties growing up is something that anyone could benefit from reading. Caroline’s situations remind me of some of Jane Austen’s tales, where you really want it to end one way, but with more thought you want it how it is, and then you go back to the other. Over all this book was a comfy read and caused more giggles and grins that I care to admit. The whole cast of characters was a hoot and found a warm place in my heart. I cannot wait to read more through Love Starts with Elle. Rachel Hauck has a real winner here and I’m definitely putting her future books on my TBR lists.

I do not know if I shall scream or cry or both. Love Starts with Elle is officially one of my favorite books of all time. It is by far my favorite book of contemporary Christian fiction. I enjoyed Sweet Caroline immensely, but it does not fully compare with the power and wonder of Elle. This is a sequel, but does stand alone on a firm foundation of Christ no less.

Elle is an artist, well in her heart. She mets Mr. Wonderful, who I did not like from page one, but he’s so right. Until he’s not, but really who is perfect? Well I did not see how in the world the plot could get her out of one situation or get her into another, but after reading the book in entirety I’m impressed. I cannot believe all that has happened. My goodness, our God is a mighty God.

Usually, I really do not like contemporary, because it’s so real and harsh and there is just not enough “light”. Rachel Hauck gives contemporary a good name. It is real, there is some harshness and full tears. But there is love and light beyond the darkness. The characters are so real, and I want to move to their town and lives near their lives. After Sweet Caroline I just could not see how the story could continue on in Elle’s life, but it did and in such a neat way. I had my tears and my giggles. I got angry at people and frustrated when they did not head my suggestions. I cherish their joys and I cannot wait for more works to come from the wonder that I have found in Rachel’s words on a page.

A very pregnant Me with authors Ane Mulligan and Rachel Hauck at Lifeway Christian in Buford, GA. (June 2009)

About the Author:

Best-selling, RITA finalist and award winning author Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband Tony, a pastor. She is the author of several novels, including Love Starts with Elle and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans.

With strong southern stories, she infuses faith and real life into the lives of her fictional characters. Rachel loves to encourage new writers and is the book therapist for My Book Therapy and writing community founded by Susan May Warren. Rachel graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism. She’s and avid OSU football fan.

Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


GIVEAWAY! Head over to Rachel’s blog today. They are giving away the KitchenAid Mixer and the cookbook and signed copies of DWJ.

Book Previews: (Because I care) 😉

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(No spam, I promise. Just creative madness ramblings, reviews and life-stories, with quilting and cross stitch inspiration in between!)

About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.