Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stay Out of the Kitchen!

Stay Out of the Kitchen! by Mable John and David Ritz

Stay Out of the Kitchen! is the second novel in a series featuring Albertina Merci, a 70-something R&B singer-turned-minister. John and Ritz's sympathetic protagonist is the driving force behind the novels and what will keep readers coming back for more.

Albertina may be a senior, she may be African-American, and she may be a minister, but there's just something about her that transcends those descriptors. She's written in a way that makes her accessible to all readers. She's not perfect: she does lose patience, she does get mad, and she doesn't always have the right answers, but that's what makes her come alive on the page. She has an abundance of fortitude and generosity, and, while Albertina is devout, she is open-minded in a way that keeps the authors from alienating non-Christian readers.

The action of Stay Out of the Kitchen! revolves around two main dramas. First, Albertina (in her innocent way) is involved in a love triangle with two very different men, a Shakespeare-quoting diner owner and an upstanding parishioner who shares her taste in music. Both are pushing her to commit, but she's not sure romance is in God's plan for her. Second, a mega-church is muscling its way into area. They want the land her church stands on and they won't take "no" for an answer. Of course, that isn't the half of it: her single-minded nephew Patrick and sex-crazed neighbor Justine are up to their usual tricks, her son's marriage is on shaky ground, her flock is divided, and it's up to Albertina to sort things out or to "let go and let God."

While Stay Out of the Kitchen! stands alone, readers of Sanctified Blues (read my review) may enjoy it just a bit more because of their previous experience with the characters. All in all, Stay Out of the Kitchen! is a strong addition to the series; better than the first.

Read my review on Front Street Reviews...

Sanctified Blues and Stay Out of the Kitchen! are Hidden Treasures, why don't you check them out?


  1. That protagonist could SO easily be my neighbor from across the street. Lovely woman, a minister, and although I'm not religious she never makes me feel alienated or pushed despite her devotion. That alone makes me want to read this book. Great review! :)

  2. It's refreshing to see non-standard protags out there. Thanks for reviewing this one.