Charlotte Gregory is a recent graduate of Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery and is determined to use her education in creating appetizing, fresh, nutritious food to run her own kitchen. When she learns that women in 1910 Minnesota are not welcome in most kitchens, she enters a competition with a gas stove company to further her recognition. The gas company offers her a position traveling and lecturing on the advantages to a gas stove in the home. Charlotte finds herself drawn to the sweet tempered Lewis Mathias who acts as a performer for her lectures. However, still determined to make a difference, Charlotte approaches Dr. Joel Brooks, a young hospital superintendent she meets during her sister’s stay. Dr. Brooks considers Charlotte’s ideas about using healthier—and more expensive—hospitals meals with fine china and flowered presentations to be completely impractical. As the two are forced to work together to raise money for the hospital, they find that their stubbornness in fact reveals a spark of attraction. But soon Charlotte must choose to whom her heart belongs – to quiet but predicable Lewis or obstinate but handsome Joel.
While Love Stirs is a breezy, simple read. The plot moves quickly and while it can be read easily, it is also quite rushed at times. Charlotte is a strong female, independent and determined to fight for what she believes is right. Joel is frustrating in his inability to see the positive points of Charlotte’s arguments and does not encourage affection from the reader. The novel is very dramatic. Every slightly inconvenient event is turned into a significant problem; however, the issue is resolved so quickly the reader feels disconnected and left behind. The “fighting” between Charlotte and Joel is especially forced. Nevertheless, the overall themes of the book are enjoyable. Charlotte’s cooking creations sound delightful and her desire to help others through her cooking is admirable. The author’s knowledge of various history subjects is commendable and interesting to read. Overall, the novel is recommended.
I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.