Tuesday, May 13, 2014

eBook Review: Short Soup

A story about best friends, childhood dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food…

Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer.

Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?

The role of Dion is being played by Feng Shaofeng and Toni is being played Liu Shi Shi in my head. Why? They are gorgeous...? (though its a bit of irony considering the roles they both played in two different dramas, but that's another story...okay its more than a bit ironic really.  A box of cookies to anyone who guesses what I'm referring to).

Any how such a wonderful nearly perfect contemporary romance. Seriously.  This was as much about understanding what people mean to you as a romance about friends coming together.  Dion didn't suddenly fall in love with Toni--it was a gradual awakening that came from years of feeling the hole in his life that she used to fill.  

Toni, who came into the feelings second (this wasn't a case of 'she yearned for him and he never saw her that way until too late', this was a case of 'he was always there for me and it was never that way before'), wasn't at all certain if the move was right for him.  She wanted to put his success as a restauranteur ahead of feelings that may be temporary and based on a long time apart.  It could have easily been a case of ignoring her own ambitions, but there was no question in her mind--she wanted to pursue something in Sydney.  She was an accountant and a damned good one who was used to handling very large accounts.  After the divorce and slap to the face her ex-husband Nick gave her, she needed something to ground her.

Their parents played a large part in the story as well.  It was refreshing to see parents who were acting like parents--sometimes mature, sometimes responsible, sometimes being too protective.   They were kind of adorable really.  Between Dion's father grousing about his son and dogging his every step (as unsubtly as possible) to Toni's mother insisting that she leave Dion alone so he can succeed.  While the parents didn't disapprove of the match they made it very clear that if it was a "fling" for either of them they needed to stop that train right away because they both had more important things to consider.

The cast wasn't a large one--there were the two sets of parents, Dion, Toni and a couple of friends that floated in and out.  Most of the supporting cast outside the families were just to get certain points moving forward and that was fine.  We're never given a reason to care about them beyond those few moments and they were, by in large, harmless to the overall plot.  I was a bit irritated at an associate of Dion's showing up from the past just to prove what a changed man Dion was (I thought Kwan did a great job showing how responsible he was without needing that), but otherwise harmless.

This was also an extremely fast read.  Its not very long (a bit over a hundred pages I'd say), yet this moves at a realistically set pace.  Toni may have suddenly gotten bit by the lust bug, but both cautioned themselves against rash decisions.  In the end their friendship meant more then hormones and for that I was eternally grateful.