Review of The Stall Of Second Chances by Dana Bate

Published: 20th November 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 432


Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food.

Not just with eating it – though she loves that too – but with writing about it as an aspiring cookery reporter. But food journalism jobs are more coveted than cupcakes, and so Sydney is stuck working for one of TV’s biggest egomaniacs – until she’s left scrambling for shifts at the local farmers’ market.

Selling muffins at the Wild Yeast Bakery is hardly going to make her the next Nigella. But soon Sydney is writing the market’s weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of being left on the shelf, she’s even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot at the story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a cinder – along with her relationship and her reputation.


Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending a review copy.

The narrative begins as Sydney loses her job and I thought this was a tough way to begin a plot as readers haven’t had the chance to get to know the main character yet, but the book proved me wrong as Sydney turned out to be a remarkable woman. I felt every emotion whilst she went through the process of finding something new. What I found to be a little odd was that Sydney loves food yet her kitchen is bare – there’s barely any food in the fridge but in time, Dana explains all.

As a main character, Sydney had such a warmth about her. She was amusing, talented and honest. She really grabbed my attention when her best friend Heidi mentioned her blog and as a blogger myself, I found her blogging life to be really interesting to read about. The love interest, Jeremy wasn’t up to scratch for me I’m afraid. His attempt to be a gent was a bit weak and I felt like Sydney deserved a lot better. The topic of food allowed them to really connect and despite me not liking Jeremy, I enjoyed their conversations.

When Sydney’s food career was going nowhere, I understood her frustration at the “it’s an experimental job at the moment” comments. I really liked the fact that Dana included this aspect into the plot because it was highly relatable and it added a very strong sense of realism which I really enjoyed.

Overall, I thought the book was written really well. The flow was consist and if I’m honest, it really surprised me as a whole. I enjoyed the book a lot more than I thought I would. The narrative just drew me in completely and I thought Sydney was a brilliant main character.

Twitter: @danabate
Website: www.danabate.com