by Molly O`Keefe

October 2001
ISBN: 0-373-44128-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #62
Mass Market Paperback

Too Many Cooks is a wonderful book. Very easy to read and a fast read at that! From the beginning, I was drawn into the story and I was able to imagine the scenes taking place by her descriptions. Ms. O'Keefe gives us a very lighthearted look at opposing lifestyles - ranch life and urban dwellers.

Too Many Cooks reminds me of the old adage "too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth". Well, these Cooks almost spoiled the romance that was taking place! The Cook family tries to play matchmakers Ethan Cook, the oldest of three brothers, divorced and one who does not take well to changes, and Cecelia Brady who is an inner city social worker.

Cecelia is heading up a pilot program to give the inner city kids a chance at life outside gangs. The program is also a study on how much environment influences children's lives; thus, it places inner city kids, who have known nothing except the streets, in a rural environment. Nate, born and bred in the city, is the first "guinea pig" for the program and it all rides on him whether the program succeeds or fails. Both Cecelia and Nate only know life in the city and were in for a rude awakening when they arrived to live temporarily in a ranch that was located in the middle of nowhere.

Upon their first meeting, the sparks flew between Ethan and Cecelia -, which wasn't always good since they persistently argue with one another. But really, it's their sense of attraction that they constantly fight against and it's a losing battle to say the least! Ethan's family, which include his parents, his brothers, Billy and Mark, and his sister, Samantha (who works with Cecelia), add their own inventiveness to the couple's battle; and in their plot to bring them closer together, the Cooks actually managed to make Ethan and Cecelia's tenuous relationship turn for the worse! Can another scheme that is orchestrated by the entire Cook clan and Nate bring them back together? You will have to read to find out how it all works out!

Too Many Cooks is Molly O'Keefe's first published story and she did an absolutely fantastic job! The characters were enjoyable and amusing in their good intentions - their antics were a constant source of entertainment! Ethan and Cecelia were also thoroughly likeable and their romance was sweet - the sexual tension, shown by their verbal display, added a certain excitement to their budding relationship. The whole story was easy to read and hard to put down - I am looking forward to Ms. O'Keefe's next book and will continue to buy any title that has her name on it!

Reviewed in October 2001 by Pam.

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