"Mia King" is Darien Hsu Gee, married to Chico native Darrin Gee and mother of three. The couple lives in Hawaii where Darrin operates the Spirit of Golf Academy and Darien is working on her fourth book. The family is in Chico visiting relatives and celebrating the publication of Darien's new novel, "Table Manners" ($14 in paperback from Berkley Trade), a sequel to "Good Things."
Both Darien and Darrin (who has published several golf guides) will be signing their works at Lyon Books in Chico on Wednesday, August 19 at 7:00 p.m. and at Chico's Barnes and Noble on Saturday, August 22 at 2:00 p.m.
In "Good Things" forty-year-old Deidre McIntosh meets the man of her dreams, Kevin Johnson, the son of a very wealthy Seattle couple. At the end of the story she has received a commission from Jamison Cookies and Confections to produce a signature line of baked goods. Kevin takes her in his arms and calls her "sweet Deidre." And so a brand is born.
"Table Manners" (picked up by Rhapsody, the Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club) finds the harried Deidre facing cookie meltdown. Focus groups say her creations are less than splendid, and the company is demanding new recipes--in a matter of days. Her personal life is complicated by Marla Banks,"Seattle's prominent fiftysomething socialite and star of At Home with Marla Banks," and, oh yes, Kevin's sister. Marla schemes at every turn to undermine the growing romance. The reader is transported into a world of haute couture, gourmet foods, and sophisticated cattiness, especially when Kevin's ex-fiancée, "Tabby," makes an entrance.
Did I mention food? The reader will encounter "tarte tatin--puff pastry with crystallized caramel apples and cream. . . ." and les macarons Ladurée, featuring "delicate domes of almond meringue. . . ." There's a large recipe section at the end of the book highlighting "summer beef bourguignonne skewers" and "summer tomato-olive-caper salad."
As usual in a Mia King novel there are twists and turns, especially involving Deidre's friend, Lindsey, owner of a small but popular restaurant in Jacob's Point, a rural getaway beloved by both Deidre and Kevin.
In the end it's a story about finding your passion, especially when you're about to lose your cookies.