“When you make a recipe, it’s like bringing a poem to life.”—Rick R. Reed
Title: Dinner at Home
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 206 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: It only takes a few days for Ollie D’Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.
Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of.
Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook… and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.
Review: Dinner at Home, the book, creates the same feeling of contentment in the reader that Dinner at Home the business portrayed in the book tries to create in its customers. It is warm and cozy and fulfilling. Everything one expects from a Rick R. Reed novel.
Ollie D’Angelo loses his boyfriend of one year, the house said boyfriend owns, and then his job. All in the course of four days. But Ollie is surprised by how little he is emotionally affected by the losses, especially the loss of his job. Instead of feeling bereft, he realizes he wasn’t as happy with his life as he thought. He suddenly feels free for the first time to do what he wants, be who he wants and love whom he wants. Thankfully, he has a healthy savings account and wealthy parents to fall back on if needed. He decides to follow his true passion: cooking.
Hank Mellinger is living and working at Haven. Haven is a half-way house that also functions as a career training center. Hank works in the kitchen and is training to be a cook. While there, an unpleasant surprise shows up from his past and brings along his four-year-old niece. He isn’t able to take care of her, but is forced to when he’s the only family there for her.
Ollie and Hank meet under less than ideal circumstances. Hank is trying to rob Ollie’s car. Hank and his niece are living in a hole-in-the-wall attic room, and literally have nothing to eat. This breaks Ollie’s heart and he feeds them, and hires Hank to help with his business, preparing old-fashioned home cooked meals and taking them to people’s homes to serve them.
It broke my heart to watch Hank deal with his family issues way more than it did when Ollie lost his boyfriend. I don’t know if Mr. Reed should have given more emotional weight to their break up or not. I thought it may have gone a little too easily. He more than made up for it while writing the drama surrounding Hank and his family, though.
I fell totally in love with Addison. That little spitfire of a girl just won over the hearts of everyone around her, including Ollie. Hank knew from the start that Ollie’s gay, but didn’t come out himself, so when Ollie is attracted to Hank he doesn’t act on it. It is really hot when Ollie first becomes aware of Hank’s reciprocal attraction. It happens while they are serving dinner to one of Ollie’s former lovers. Hank trying not to be jealous when he was green with it was in turns funny and sad. I wanted Hank to just tell him already. But it never happens that easily!
Mr. Reed did a great job of keeping the angst to a manageable level so it didn’t drive me insane. Just enough to add drama without making me scream at my Kindle. Don’t judge, you’ve all done it. As an added bonus, there are great recipes included in the book. They are for the food that Ollie and Hank prepare for Dinner at Home. Dinner at Home is a sweet, satisfying beach read.
You can buy Dinner at Home here: