All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast – Danielle Hawkins

on November 29, 2013

Chocolate Cake For BreakfastChocolate Cake For Breakfast
Danielle Hawkins
Allen & Unwin
2013, 361p
Uncorrected proof copy courtesy of the publisher/The Reading

Rural New Zealand vet Helen McBain is taking a breather at a party escaping a boring local when she trips over a very tall man outside. Unthinkingly, she asks him what he does for a living only to discover after he says playing rubgy, that he is national hero Mark Tipene, rugby union player for the Auckland Blues and also the All Blacks. Despite the fact that she had absolutely no idea who he was at first meeting (or perhaps because of it) Mark is interested in Helen and he ends up turning up at her work the next day to ask her out.

In between Mark’s rugby commitments and Helen’s busy calving season they find time to begin a fledgling romance. Things are going well, even though Helen is insecure about what Mark could possibly want with someone like her when he could have all manner of blonde, thin, tanned WAG-wannabes. However then an unexpected surprise throws a spanner in the works and Helen finds herself freaking out over everything, most of all making sure that Mark doesn’t feel guilted or pressured into staying.

I loved this book. On the day I started it, I had read a really quick novel in the afternoon, only 177p so I was at a bit of a loss for something to do so I picked up this in order to just read a bit and get started. I ended up ignoring my family for most of the rest of the evening in order to finish it because I couldn’t put it down. It’s funny and clever and taps into that ‘hero falling in love with an average girl’ storyline that works so well in a romantic comedy.

Helen is a country vet specialising in large animals and on her and Mark’s first date she gets a call out that results in them both having to deliver a dead calf from inside the cow. It’s rather graphic and all together very eye opening – I had no idea that these sorts of things happened and that would be how a vet delivered a stillborn calf that had been unfortunately dead for several days. Mark shows a strong stomach during what must’ve been a rather disgusting procedure in both vision and smell and if I were Helen, I’d probably expect to never see someone again after that. However it doesn’t daunt Mark in the slightest and Helen is surprised to find herself slipping into a relationship with the world’s best rugby union lock. Whatever it is that locks do.

I have to admit, I have no idea what it is that locks do. Of the three relatively popular games we call “football” here (I’m not counting soccer although some do call that football as well), rugby union is the one I know least about. I actually don’t really understand the rules (why do they all fall on each other in a big pile? What is that?). This book doesn’t really shed any light on that and I think that the games take up probably a perfect amount of time in the book. Mark is often playing abroad as is the case these days for someone who plays for their country and Helen, not the world’s biggest rugby fan before meeting Mark tends to only watch to make sure he doesn’t get pulverized during the game. The only thing I know about the All Blacks is that they perform the haka before each match and that’s pretty much the best bit! It’s unfortunate that there’s no mention of that here. You definitely don’t have to be a fan or care about rugby union to enjoy this book but it is a bit of a nice look at the WAG phenomenon and gives Helen a legitimate insecurity. If New Zealand is anything like here, they’d be inundated with the WAGs and what they’re doing, wearing etc and she sticks her hands inside cows for a living. But what I loved about this book was that there was no attempt to make the reader see that Helen was rather stunning and everyone saw it except her. She was what she was – and Mark liked her for that. She was down to earth and funny and a bit awkward and Mark was the sort who seemed to not really embrace the limelight any more. He definitely partied and hooked up when he was younger but you got the impression that he was over that and that he was thinking about his future. He was aware that he only had probably a few years left playing rugby professionally and that he was ready to start implementing the next stage of his life. Probably not as quickly as it played out in the book but he still showed a readiness, when Helen let him and gave him a chance. And I think that part of the story played out with a lot of realism. Both of them are unsure and freaked out a bit, they fight, they do the wrong thing, they end up hurting each other. But then they sort it out and try again. And it works.

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast is one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read in a while, I can’t remember the last time I read one that made me laugh out loud this often. I loved Helen and loved her family, who are all rather eccentric in their individual ways. Her job added a lot of colour (and information – what has been imagined can never be unimagined) and the romance was both sweet and well written. I’ve got to get behind a book with a title such as this one – I remember when I was at university and I would head back to my dorm, my nan would make me a chocolate cake. And for the next 3-4 mornings, chocolate cake is what I would eat for breakfast simply because it was there, it was easy and quite frankly, who wouldn’t want chocolate cake for breakfast? This book is like chocolate cake for breakfast: addictive. And now I need to track down Danielle Hawkins’ first novel, Dinner At Rose’s as soon as possible because I’m pretty sure I’ll like that too.


Book #304 of 2013

Whatsinaname6This is the 6th and final book for my What’s In A Name?6 Challenge, filling in the category of something you might find in the kitchen. You can quite often find chocolate cake in mine…..if you look hard enough! Challenge complete!



12 responses to “Chocolate Cake For Breakfast – Danielle Hawkins

  1. Danielle says:

    I’ve started reading this one, but I’m not too sure. I got past the crazy lady who left a jar of her pet’s faeces while they were dining, and I got through the terrible birthing first date, but then I had to put the book down and walk away for a bit. Blergh. Does it get more romantic-times sexy? lol

    • Aww I’m sorry you couldn’t get into this one! I really enjoyed it. I found the vet stuff interesting. It doesn’t really get sexy, it’s more quirky. But probably if you didn’t like it much so far I doubt you would enjoy the rest.

  2. I think Dinner at Rosie’s was a little better than this one though this was still good 🙂

  3. It sounds like one of those Chick Lit novels that I’d love. I’ve seen this book in stores and haven’t been able to justify the purchase since I know nothing about it than I love the title 😛

  4. readaholic31 says:

    I do love books where the ‘hero’ falls in love with the average girl – gives me hope! lol

    • I think this is one where it’s done really well because the hero is a god in rugby/sports circles and most of NZ knows who he is but he’s also just pretty much an average person too. Helen doesn’t aim to be a WAG, like most other girls that want to date him. She barely knows what a WAG is lol

  5. Hey, thank you for getting it, and for enjoying my book for exactly the reasons I wanted people to enjoy it for! Danielle x

  6. […] I read Danielle Hawkins’s second novel Chocolate Cake For Breakfast and loved it so immediately this one was on my radar. Recently I switched my Amazon account from […]

  7. […] Danielle Hawkins, author of Dinner At Rose’s and Chocolate Cake For Breakfast […]

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