Have I got a great book review for you. Jane Green is one of my favorite authors because her stories focus on real women. Well, they’re fiction, of course, but in her telling the story the person she is writing about could be someone you know.
Saving Grace is a story about Grace and Ted Chapman. Grace is a cookbook editor and Ted is a famous author. Hello! My two favorite things in one book. Plus there are several recipes throughout the book and I love that! I’ve copied quite a few of the recipes and can’t wait to make them!
Back to the story – here is the blurb from Amazon.
Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.
The story delves into many areas – woman’s intuition, verbal abuse, mental illness and our over-use of prescription drugs. We never really know what is going on behind closed doors and I always love getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. I won’t give anything away but I will say that I started listening to this book on audiobook on a road trip and got home without having finished it. I immediately had to get the actual book because I had to know what Grace was going to do. Well done Jane Green, well done.
For the recipe, I made the Pavlova listed in the book but added Balsamic Strawberries. This is my go-to dessert recipe from now on. Seriously. It was easy to make and the taste of all the components together was out of this world. I have two in my freezer that I can’t wait to indulge in this weekend! I took some to work and they got two thumbs up from the co-workers.
Pavlova with Balsamic Strawberries
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 c confectioners sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pint Fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar, a little at a time, while mixing. Keep whisking until peaks are glossy and stiff.
Gently fold in cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar.
Prepare baking sheet by placing parchment paper on sheet. Put meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Form round shapes and make a slight well in the middle. (You can also just spread it as one big circle on the sheet in a round form with a spoon.)
Bake meringue for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a pale eggshell color.
Turn oven off BUT leave meringue in the oven. Crack the oven door to allow meringue to cool in the oven. (I used a wooden spoon to prop it open just a bit.)
While meringue is cooling in the oven, add strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar to a non-metal mixing bowl. Stir together to combine, cover and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours, or preferably overnight to let the flavors soak in.
Once you are ready to serve, add your heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, whisk until stiff peaks form.
Plate meringue and add whipped cream. Drizzle strawberries and sauce over meringue and cream.