Series: The Hudson Valley
Author: Alice Clayton
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Shelves: Contemporary; Romance
Format: Audiobook (Simon & Schuster Audio)
After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?
Roxie Callahan has a sweet job of being a private chef to the rich and famous, but after a run in with a picky client, Roxie suddenly loses all her clientele, and is at a loss on how to pay for bills without any income. Then Roxie get a phone call from her free-spirit mother, asking Roxie to help run her diner while she takes part in The Amazing Race for the summer. With little options, Roxie reluctantly agrees, and makes her way to Bailey Falls to take temporary charge of the family diner. At the diner, she smacks into Leo Maxwell, Bailey Falls’ local farmer, and from then on they embark on a strictly-summer romance. As Roxie settles in her old town and slowly falls for Leo, the temptation to stay in Bailey Falls grows stronger, but Roxie fears that by staying there, she will revert back to her former, shy and awkward self, in the town where everyone knows everyone.
So I’ve owned the audiobook of Nuts since July last year. I downloaded it the night before my graduation ceremony as a distraction but I was so nervous that I didn’t really listen to it. Recently I was stuck on what to read and I thought I would give it another go while doing housework, and I finally fully listened to it. Also, this is a short review. I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t remember much about this novel since I’m writing this review 3 weeks after reading it… Sorry!
Roxie is a cute character. She struggled a lot with breaking free from her past and reinventing herself into this hot-shot LA chef, which I can totally relate to (the desire to reinvent yourself, not being a chef). She’s very career-focused and passionate about her job which I liked to see. But Roxie was also pretty annoying – there were many cringe moments and her snarky sense of humour felt really forced and unfunny to me at times. Her narrative is also quite repetitive – lots of childish innuendo, lots of internal conflict between staying and leaving Bailey Falls, and a TON of cooking and baking descriptions. I’m struggling to think of things to say about this character and I’m sorry! Of course she wasn’t all bad, but the bad qualities are what I remember, unfortunately.
Leo was nice. He’s a very private person and he works hard on his farm, but over the course of the novel we see him slowly open up more toward Roxie. It actually would have been cool if we got more Leo POV because I feel like we didn’t see enough of his personality. And again, I’m struggling of things to say… I’m terrible.
As for the romance, I wasn’t really feeling it. It could have been way more developed than what it was. This novel takes place over the summer and of course I was expecting a great, adult summer romance. And while there were several cute moments, and several outright weird ones, I just felt as though their relationship wasn’t as focused on or as developed as it could have been. So when the inevitable conflict occurred, I didn’t really care about it.
I actually thought the plot was lovely – Roxie temporarily moves from LA to the Hudson Valley to run her mother’s diner while she participates in The Amazing Race which was really bizarre but that’s to be expected in a Clayton novel. And I loved seeing Roxie take control of the diner and fall in love with the town, the locals, her job, and of course Leo. It’s quite a chill novel I think – it’s very centred on baking and farming all within this lovely, cosy town setting. There were some aspects of the plot I didn’t much like or even understand – for example, Leo keeps a secret from Roxie for the entire summer, and it’s so odd to me that the locals in this small town, who are depicted in the novel as total gossips, manages to keep this one secret from her. I didn’t find it believable at all.
Also, I feel like I should briefly mention that I listened to the audiobook version, and the narrators (Shayna Thibodeaux and Sebastian York) did a great job! I love listening to audiobooks, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked this novel as much if I just read it instead. I know their voices from a couple of the Wild Seasons audiobooks so it was cool to listen to them both narrating a different series.
Though I do feel slightly underwhelmed with this novel, overall I thought Nuts was a fun read, and I’m glad I got round to it despite my mixed feelings. But it just doesn’t compare to Wallbanger for me.
And apologies for this slightly informative review… The next one will be much better!
Would you read this novel again? Probably not.
Who would I recommend this novel to? Fans of Alice Clayton, NA fans wanting a light, funny read, Foodies!