Today is my stop on the blog tour for Food For Thought by Sara Madderson. I have an excerpt for you from this book.
But first, let’s see …
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
“The Daily Post has got hold of some pap shots of me. They’re fairly… damning.”
What do you do when the person you love threatens everything you’ve worked for?
Evelyn Macleod has spent a decade helping her husband, charismatic TV chef Seb Macleod, to become a household name. Now they’re riding high and enjoying the spoils of their success. When a tabloid forces Seb to come out as gay, Evelyn and her young son flee to a friend’s luxury resort in rural Kent. Sorrel Farm is the perfect place to hide out, decompress from her disciplined London lifestyle, and comfort-eat. The enforced break also throws into question everything that Evelyn has worked so hard for. Should she continue to chase the glittering heights of wealth and power in London? Or should she choose balance—and the chance to find love—in the beautiful English countryside?
HERE’S AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
The gods have at their disposal two tools that titillate them and torment us. The first is the curveball. We wake up each morning with no inkling as to what may lie ahead that day. We may as well be running blindfolded through life, never knowing when we’ll run smack into a brick wall.
The second is the real masterstroke. The gods blinker us, ensuring our complete inability to judge whether the curve- balls they throw at us are as they seem. Apparent catastro- phes may, only years later, be understood as the blessings they really are, and vice versa. We have this clarity only when the gods finally take pity on us and throw us a bone, and the bone is hindsight.
Evelyn Macleod’s curveball would come on a seemingly inauspicious day. It was the Friday heading into the late May bank holiday weekend, and the uncharacteristically good weather forecast boded as well for the economy as it did for the spirits of the Great British public. Across the country, workers would spend the day mentally checking out, messaging their mates to exchange boozy plans, and staring impatiently out of the window rather than at their screens.
For Evelyn, however, it was business as usual. By 7.30am she had already completed a thirty minute online bootcamp workout and a twenty-minute meditation practice, recited her daily affirmations, journalled on both her goals and her reasons for gratitude, read a chapter of a book on productivity, checked and answered emails, showered, blow-dried her long, sleek, chestnut hair, dressed, applied a face-full of makeup whose natural, dewy effect belied her skills, taken her probiotics and allowed herself her daily cup of Bullet- proof coffee blended with grass-fed butter.
Breakfast wouldn’t feature in Evelyn’s morning. She adhered to a strict intermittent fasting regime on weekdays, eating only in an eight-hour window between 12 noon and 8pm. She would break her fast (coffee excluded) with lunch.
Evelyn loved mornings, loved what they represented. She couldn’t comprehend people who hit snooze when the alarm went off and burrowed grumblingly under the covers to resist the dawn of a new day. Mornings were precious, pure, unsullied. Each morning represented a fresh start, a virgin day, a slate magically wiped clean of the previous day’s failures and disappointments. Everything seemed better in the morning. Evelyn believed fervently that if you won your morning, you won your day. She knew, and despaired, that somewhere deep within her lurked a monster of utter slothfulness. She never allowed it out, and instead took great pains to keep her eye on the prize and ignore that concealed, parallel version of herself who would jump at the chance to spend a day on the sofa, binge- watching Netflix, eating chocolate biscuits and sabotaging everything that she had worked so hard for. Instead, she focused on approaching each day as the gigantic opportunity that it was.
Her husband, Seb, had left the house early. Evelyn was married to Seb Macleod, the charismatic celebrity chef and CEO of his vast eponymous food empire. Most households in the UK boasted one or two of his cookbooks, and people would get to know the power-couple even better that month, when they picked up their copy of Food magazine and saw them on the cover, smiling in what their PR team intended to be an aspirational but accessible fashion. The tagline read The Beckhams of the Food World.
Seb was certainly the face of their operation—a talented, charming TV chef with a gorgeous smile, a high- energy persona and an obsession with celebrating the best, freshest produce. However, as both his Chief Content Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Evelyn was tasked with building his brand and steering it in a new direction.
As the world had got more health conscious and consumers went crazy for keto, paleo and veganism, Evelyn had noticed that some celebrity chefs were getting left behind by sticking to what they knew best—pasta, sandwiches, roasts, and cakes. They were being quickly over- taken by a new wave of wellness bloggers and vloggers. She’d lobbied hard to persuade the team that they should pivot to focus more on health-conscious recipes, while continuing to keep the freshest, tastiest ingredients front- and-centre of their brand.
Her bet paid off. As terms like ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’, ‘pasture-raised’ and ‘high-welfare’ became industry buzz- words, Seb Macleod Limited increased its sourcing team, invested in an in-house functional practitioner and nutri- tionist, and broadened their scope to partner with worthy allies, from soil associations to oncologists. They had closed a Series C round of funding the previous year and opened their first Malibu-inspired café, Seb’s Kitchen, to serve up turmeric lattes to the well-heeled of Westbourne Grove. Keeping the juggernaut moving forward was an enormous amount of work, but Seb and Evelyn were well-matched in their work ethic. Thanks to their laser-focus, the company was flourishing.
The mirrors in Evelyn’s palatial Holland Park dressing- room afforded her a three-sixty view of herself. She gave the multiple reflections a quick once-over and nodded. Good. She would do. Her tightly tailored, khaki boiler suit was chic enough for the office and comfortable enough to drive to Kent in later. Geometrical gold jewellery elevated the look, and she could bomb around London in her flat leather Loewe sandals. Grabbing the shoes, she padded barefoot downstairs.
In the kitchen, her eight-year-old son, Eddie, was sitting at the vast marble island. He tucked into scrambled eggs and avocado on toast while one of their housekeepers, Maria, hovered attentively by the double sink.
“Good morning, Maria. Good morning, Eddilicious!” Evelyn exclaimed. God, he really was delicious. Just look at him. He was a sight for sore eyes, gorgeously golden and typically disheveled despite Maria’s best efforts with the hairbrush. She scooted around the island, dropped the sandals and took his face in her hands, kissing his sticky mouth and inhaling his beautiful, little-boy smell.
‘How are you, Angel-face? Did you sleep well? One more day at school and then you’re on half-term for a week, lucky boy!’
‘Hi Mummy!’ Eddie sang. He’d inherited his father’s blue eyes and obscene eyelashes, but his hair, which was darkening steadily as he grew, was still caramel-coloured.
Nevertheless, he was a chip off the old block. He gave her a huge, devastating beam that lit up the room.
His words tumbled out. ‘Mummy, are you picking me up early to go to Kent? Don’t forget to bring my iPad and my snacks for the car. And please can I have my Minecraft water bottle? I don’t like my Batman one any more. When we get to Auntie Jess’ house can I sleep in Mike’s bunk-bed with him? Will you tell Mr. Solomon that I need to leave early today so we can go on holiday?’
‘I will not!’ laughed Evelyn. ‘I’ll pick you up at normal time; we’ll still make it down to Kent for dinner. I’m sure Maria will kindly pack up the right water bottle for you. And we mustn’t forget to pack Bunny.’ She caught Maria’s eye and smiled. ‘Right little guy, eat up this yummy break- fast and then you and I can put Bunny in your rucksack before we head to school.’
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance || Pages: 266 || Published on June 29th 2020
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Many thanks to Anne @ Random Things Tours for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
Sara Madderson is an author, entrepreneur, wife and mother. She was born in Ireland and moved to the UK with her family when she was ten years old. She lives in London with her husband Chris, their two children, Paddy and Tilly, and their cocker spaniel Charlie.
Before turning to writing, Sara worked in finance for a decade and then ran her own fashion brand, Madderson London, for eight years. She earned her MPhil in Early Modern History from the University of Birmingham.
Metamorphosis is Sara’s first book. Given that she spent most of her childhood writing and designing clothes, she’s now seen both of her childhood career dreams come true! She’s enjoyed the adventure of publishing independently as much as she’s enjoyed the writing process itself. She’s now completely hooked on writing!