The setting is perfect, some of the best comedies in movies and books wind up behind the stove, and a man in a kitchen, or it’s tragically comic, or it’s classy comedy. And when the man is wearing a utilikilt, well, again, it’s only through a perfect balance that you manage to obtain a perfect cooked story.
Toby is really a good guy but he is also a little bubble of energy that is difficult to limit under someone else instructions. When he is fired for the nth time, his sister sends him towards his last resort, a little diner that has more chances to close than to take off. The owner, Evan, is not exactly the perfect host, basically since he likes very few and very selected people, and that is not a good attitude if you want to launch a restaurant. But as soon as they meet, Toby and Evan click off together like two pieces of the same mechanism and it doesn’t take long before they are a couple not only in the kitchen but also in the bedroom.
Even if this is a very romantic story, with two young men who plenty enjoy their time together, and who like to kiss and cuddle (yes, this is that type of romance, tender hearts out there seek this out, you will not regret it), I really liked that it also felt real, for stupid little things but still; like Evan’s bad habit to smoke, or Toby’s impetuosity and yes, also a bit of egocentrism that makes him always think he is right, from the small detail like Ethan’s hair, to the most important ones like redesigning Evan’s restaurant, both of them of course without asking Ethan’s opinion. They are all these details that made both men a little less perfect and for exactly this reason, a lot more appealing and nice.
I also liked how I think the author brought a little bit of herself into the story in the supporting collective character of the techy savvy moms who will help Toby and Ethan to realize their dream (or at least Toby’s dream, this is another point why I liked Ethan and Toby, they were able to understand that they are different men loving each other, and again, finding a balance they are able to work their relationship); this is I think not the first time Z.A. Maxfield creates a cameo role for herself into one of her novels, and even if it’s not a real role, there is nonetheless something that can link the fiction story with the real-life of this author. Sometime this can be tricky, but in Z.A. Maxfield’s case, it’s one of her characteristic that I like the best.
Amazon Kindle: Stirring Up Trouble
Publisher: MLR Press (July 14, 2010)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott