Saturday, June 17, 2023

Weekend Cooking/Blog Tour: The Recipe for Happiness by Jane Lovering


Seren is quite happy in her small world. She enjoys her work in a day drop in centre for the elderly in her small tow. She likes living alone in the apartment above the centre.  So what if she doesn't like leaving her small town? So what if she doesn't like meeting new people? So what if she hasn't had a date in years?

Seren's brother Andrew and his husband Greg have other ideas. They are trying to encourage her to meet some new people and so they force her to join their Dungeons and Dragons group which mostly consists of a group of heavy rock musicians. They also dob her in to help out a local dog trainer.

Seren is the cook at the drop in centre, and even in that she is restricted. The regular clients who visit the centre are an interesting and varied cast of characters, but they do like their meals and treats to be exactly as it always is. One day Seren puts cheese in their mashed potato and it causes an uproar.

One new employee who has recently joined the team at the centre is Ned. Seren isn't quite sure what to make of Ned. He doesn't share a lot about himself and Seren finds herself wondering about who he might be and why he is working as a driver/handyman. Where does he live? What did he do before he started working here? Is he a serial killer just out of jail? What is his secret?

When Seren goes to help out with the dog training, she suddenly finds herself with temporary custodianship of an energetic Collie called Kez. The only problem is that there isn't really room in her one bedroom apartment above the drop in centre, and her boss doesn't know and won't approve of the dog. And having a dog means that she will need to take him for walks, and all of a sudden her world is expanding piece by piece.

In order to keep Kez,  Seren and Ned agree to pretend that Kez is his dog, and so in order to keep up the charade, they begin to take Kez further and further afield together. Soon Seren is beginning to learn more about Ned, and he is encouraging her to try to figure out what it is that causes her so much fear whenever she moves outside of her comfort zone, and that will mean unpicking some traumatic events from her childhood. And if she can work through some of those issues, she will be able to realise that she has some other dreams (including expanding her food dreams) that she has been holding back for far too long.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the setting of the drop in centre with the varied characters of the clients. For example, there is Tom who insists that he does not cheat at Scrabble, he just has a very large vocabulary. They can be an unruly rabble at times, something which Ned finds out to his detriment when he volunteers to take them for ice cream on a warm day. I liked the Yorkshire setting and I liked how gradually the truth about the each of the character's truths were revealed and their world slowly expanded.

There are a couple of Seren's recipes shared in the book, but they are almost written as stories. For example, one of the recipes is for "A Very Easy But Very Flash Cake" which is "For When You Have to Knock Out a Showstopper Cake For An Open Day (or birthday or even a wedding) At  Short Notice". Other recipes include Proper Scnes, cottage pie and Earl Grey Tea scones.

Jane Lovering is the author of more than 30 books, many of which are set in Yorkshire. When I lived in the UK, I lived in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, so I did enjoy this aspect of the book. I just purchased another one of her books, so I expect I will read more from this author soon!

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy.

I have also linked this post up with Foodies Read hosted at Based an a True Story, British Isles Friday (hosted at Joy's Book Blog)

Rating 4/5

About the book

The Recipe for Happiness

When Seren’s brother Andrew signs her up to Yorkshire Dating, only for them to recommend that she ‘gets a life’ before they find her a match, Seren has to admit that they may have a point.

She loves her job cooking at an elder day centre and her little flat, but it’s fair to say her life is a little short of hobbies and friends. Since she was young Seren has felt safer close to home, but now she’s a thirty-something divorcee, it’s time for a change.

Change arrives in the shape of alarmingly clever collie Kez, who Seren offers to take in ‘temporarily’, and kind but mysterious new colleague Ned. But as Ned and Kez tempt Seren out of her shell, it means facing her fears. And when Andrew finally reveals the secrets of their childhood, Seren’s need for safety suddenly makes sense.

A problem shared is a problem halved, and with friends by her side, Seren might be able to get a life that she loves at last.

Purchase Link -

About the author

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Contemporary Romance Novel Award in 2023 with A Cottage Full of Secrets. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.

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Weekly meals

Saturday -  Meatballs
Sunday -  Ratouille, couscous with chipolata
Monday - 
Tuesday - Sausages, mash and gravy
Wednesday - Pad See Ew
Thursday - Fried Chickens and chip
Friday - Out for dinner

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. The solution always seems to go toward the problem rather than what is instinctive, moving away from it.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this book so much.

  2. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I think we all tend to get into ruts rather than put ourselves out there to face our fears. Thanks for the review and hosting Weekend Cooking.

  3. This sounds fun. I love how British the recipes sound. That's for linking up to British Isles Friday!



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