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A Serving of Scandal Hardcover – 4 Mar 2010

14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849161690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849161695
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,305,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Sophie Kinsella for grown ups." --"Daily Express" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Kate McKinnon is thirty-six and mother to five-year-old Toby. She used to be a restaurant chef but that all stopped when Toby came along. Now she has a small but thriving business catering for private clients, companies and some government departments. Her life is on an even keel. That is, until she gets a job cooking lunch at the Foreign Office and has her first fateful meeting with Oliver Stapler, Secretary of State. He's married and a father and totally out of bounds, yet she falls for him. She thinks she's hiding it beautifully, but there are people who would like to see her fail and to them her feelings are all too transparent. When someone alerts the gutter press, who cares whether Kate's affair with Oliver is true or not? It's a great story and will shift a ton of newspapers - and destroy several lives at the same time.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Gough on 7 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's all very well, - I may have finished A SERVING OF SCANDAL, but I haven't finished WITH it, if you see what I mean : I'm left sitting on my loo on the edge of a cliff in a high wind (without much on) feeling distinctly that I've run out of loo paper, if you follow me (although I'd rather you'd didn't). I need a sequel, and I need it NOW! "Well, Oliver Stapler M.P., did you learn anything?" "I did," he said. He put the back of his hand against Kate's cheek. "More than you could possibly guess - '
And? AND? AND - ?
I want to hear about his serious wooing of Kate, his fight to claw his way back up greased ladders to the stratospheric political nirvana of Prime Ministerial contention (he has integrity, after all, and he's found the sodding necklace (and presumably - I couldn't quite make out - he actually returned it), at which Ruth wants him back again and Kate has to fight for him (and he for Kate) - the temptation to go back to Ruth for familial and political credibility, the chance to become the first divorced Prime Minister by a massive ( or just sufficient) majority, with Kate doing a 'Jamie' in schools throughout England and as a result making us a nation of geniuses again, during which time Chris and Dennis get together to try and put a spanner in everyones' works (and end up getting married on a prison ship bound for Australia - and so on and so on - ! The possibilities are endless (and I've only been thinking for five minutes), but my appetite for them all hasn't been slaked! I want PUDDING!
Seriously (and to my astonishment, since as this is as much a book for blokes as birds) I enjoyed every minute of it, and FLUNG the book across the loo at the last page. MORE, please! I mean it!

Simon Gough
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martin Chown on 23 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes, authors (or film directors) try to keep the excitement up by packing with extreme events, and that makes me think "more is less". What Prue Leith does is engage strong interest from the start through description of quite homely events. For example, food prepared for an important function got taken out of the fridge by a visitor to make room his beer - and it was eaten by foxes. The heroine Kate, a caterer, has the challenge of fulfilling customer expectations without resorting to take-aways, and even this simple story is made gripping. Then, when the plots thickens, and more important events take place, the reader has really got to know and to care about the characters, and it becomes impossible to put the book down.

The love between Kate and Oliver (a cabinet minister) was so well done, because the author showed it rather than told it. It seemed that the observer / reader could recognise that they were falling in love when the characters themselves did not suspect it, demonstrating a subtle touch. As a keen reader of Anthony Trollope, I noticed Trollopian echoes in the position of Oliver. I was reminded of Sir Roger Scatcherd in Dr Thorne who was the big boss to everyone in the rail business, an upstart rather than a gentleman in society and whose wife was not his equal. In Leith's novel, Oliver is surrounded by so many people yet has no real friend, because family had little respect or interest in the things he most cared about, while others tended to give him too much "respect", often sycophantic. So it was no wonder that he enjoyed his innocent last glass of wine in the kitchen ...

In short, I loved this book, and am looking forward to reading others by the same author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss H. O. Johnson on 28 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
The first night I read this, I was interested in the relationship developing between Oliver and Kate and I stopped about 1/3 into the book. Once I finished it in the second night, I realised that I had wasted my time reading the book. The author doesn't focus on WHO her characters for example, saying that her friend Amal is a very traditional guy who likes women's ankles covered up but then, when Kate talks about sex with the father of her child, Amal doesn't seem uncomfortable or anything. Also, I think the romance between Kate and Oliver was boring. No sparks and the ending was just unrealistic.
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Format: Paperback
I have always found Prue Leith an interesting personality and have followed her career as a professional chef and food writer in the press so of course it will be no surprise that when she started writing fiction, I wanted to read them. I have now read four of her five novels including this one, starting with Leaving Patrick in 1999, Sisters in 2002, and The Gardener in 2008. Her novels are not great literature but they are enjoyable and realistic, as she draws on her own life experiences as a business woman and a cook. Her writing will appeal to fans of contemporary fiction. Although sometimes a little predictable she provides exactly what one should expect if you pick up a book in this genre, an engaging and well written story. The theme of food, politics and celebrity gossip seen through the eyes of the two main characters and how innocent people can be drawn into a scandal held my interest.

The female protagonist Kate McKinnon is your average single mother of a five year old son, attempting to balance bringing him up alone and keep up the success of her private catering company. When Kate is hired by the Foreign Office to cook at private functions for them she comes into contact with Oliver Stapler, Secretary of State. She finds herself befriended by him and does not see the dangers that this might lead to, as she knows he is unobtainable to her, or is he? Unfortunately there are people that would like to see Kate fail, so alerting the press to an affair, true or not, is a good way of destroying her business. As well as Kate's narrative of events we are also told Oliver's side of the story, through his own voice. I must say I was surprised at how naive he was portrayed as, considering his political position in the government, one would have expected him to be more worldly.
In conclusion an interesting scenario that left me not really knowing what was going to happen to the friendship between Kate and Oliver. Maybe Prue Leith is planning a sequel?
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