MARKET STREET by Anita Hughes
reviewed by Barbara Claypole White
“From the author of Monarch Beach comes a delicious story of a department store heiress, her messy marriage, and her passion for food.
Cassie Blake, heiress to Fenton's, San Francisco's most exclusive department store, has been married to Aidan, a handsome UC Berkeley professor, for ten years. But when she discovers Aidan allowed himself to be seduced by one of his students, she moves into the third floor of her best friend Alexis's Presidio Heights mansion. Aided by the hilarious and high-spirited Alexis, Cassie has to decide if she can forgive Aidan and give their marriage one more chance.
Saving her marriage is not the only choice Cassie has to make. Cassie's mother is eager to have her oversee Fenton's new Food Emporium, destined to be San Francisco's hottest gourmet shopping destination. Her true passion has always been food, and Cassie suspects her mother might be trying to lure her into the Fenton's fold by entrusting her with such an exciting opportunity. And then there is James, the architect designing the Emporium, who is quietly falling in love with her.”
As a fan of Anita Hughes’ debut novel, I was eager to get my hands on Market Street. However, I was stunned to find myself putting aside my own novel two deadline to finish reading it. (Shhhh, don’t tell my editor.) A number of reviewers mention that Market Street is hard to put down. No, not hard: impossible.
Market Street has all the ingredients of page-turning escapism: likeable characters—except for the sexy, dirtbag husband, a glimpse into high society San Francisco life, and several steamy sex scenes. Add in mouthwatering descriptions of gourmet food and more designer fashion than a girl can dream of…and why would you put this book down to return to real life? I am not a foodie but even I was craving organic, heirloom tomatoes and homemade soup at one point.
The themes of self-discovery in the midst of betrayal and the importance of female friendships drew me in immediately, and I liked the single working mother/daughter dynamic. The writing is warm and cozy, and the female characters are wonderful. My favorite part of the novel was the friendship between the heroine and her BFF. I loved that Alexis opened her home—and her wardrobe—to Cassie without once judging her or dishing out harsh marriage advice. Everyone needs a friend like Alexis.
If you’re looking for the perfect weekend read, this is A+ escapism.
Market Street was published by St. Martin’s Griffin earlier this month and is available from Amazon, IndieBound and Barnes & Noble. For more information on Anita Hughes, visit her website: anitahughesbooks.com
Barbara Claypole White is the author of The Unfinished Garden, a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt (Harlequin MIRA, 2012)