By Rebecca Serle
Published by Flatiron Books
on September 11, 2018
We’ve been waiting for an hour. That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.
At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends within her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.
When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.
Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit.
This was the second book by Rebecca Serle that I’ve read recently, and so I couldn’t help but compare this and In Five Years to each other as I read. I think I enjoyed In Five Years slightly more than this one, but The Dinner List had the more intriguing premise.
This book takes a very interesting concept that definitely grabbed my attention, but the central relationship being explored (Sabrina and Tobias) just didn’t pull me in. I struggled to care about them as a couple, and actually was really annoyed by them most of the time. I was more interested in Sabrina’s relationship with her friend Jessica, and there were some really interesting aspects of that friendship explored, but I felt like that definitely took a back seat to Sabrina and Tobias’s relationship.
I feel like I need to say that the Audrey Hepburn angle is part of what really drew my attention to this book, but the synopsis feels a bit misleading to me since her presence is so minor compared to others’ at the dinner. Still, I was really curious as to why Audrey was at the dinner and what she meant to Sabrina.
Overall, this was a fairly quick read that gave me some good food for thought, but I felt like the fascinating concept was not enough to sustain this story for me. I just didn’t care enough about the characters, particularly those in the central relationship being explored.