Leftovers – Stella Newman

Susie’s immediate plan is pretty precise- survive her job as advertising account director for another 307 days, obtain her promised promotion and bonus, then quit. After that she’s not totally sure, but it will involve cooking, at which she is talented and innovative. Amid a sea of fellow thirty-something attached friends, Susie is single and still a little heartbroken, but cooking is the answer to that too.

At first glance it resembles one of our recent reads, except British instead of American, and Susie is a little older and knows her own mind.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Susie has lots of friends, some more reliable than others. Dalia is the kind to drop her friends when there’s a man on the scene, Rebecca is a man eater on the verge of reforming, Polly is lucky in love the second time around, Marjorie is her crotchety old neighbour, and Sam is her unmotivated work ally with no qualms when it comes to a little recreational computer hacking if it helps his friend Susie. Various other characters both at work and home are also really well observed.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Susie is resiliently chirpy and practical with a few self-aware moments where she admits to herself that her loneliness and loss is easily distracted by cooking. I love the way she doesn’t stand for second best when it comes to men, and doesn’t waste too much time with those that we can soon identify as incidental. She’s quick thinking and resourceful; my favourite kind of lead character.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The standout here is the food, ensure you have some pasta and tomatoes in stock just in case the urge takes you while reading this, especially once you hit the recipes at the end.

Evaluation of your eBook?– There are some heroines who make crazy decisions along the way and you have to wait for the inevitable fallout towards the end of the book- this is not one of those! Which makes me happy. Susie may be the leftover among her friends, the only single one, but it doesn’t hold her back socially. There are moments of depth and poignancy when her loneliness bubbles to the surface, but most of the time she’s a positive, caring, strong leading lady and I’d love to see a sequel. The ending was great- surprisingly unpredictable. The work characters in particular might resonate with those of us that have worked with similar types, particularly Susie’s chilly boss Berenice. The tone is modern and real without being too gritty, and most of all- warm.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Price has recently ranged between 99p and £1.49 on Amazon, click here for the latest. Either way it’s a bargain.

US: Kobobooks have it for $7.29