“Under the Table” by Stephanie Evanovich is first and foremost a romance. But there’s much more to this novel that by turn enchants, infuriates, and charms the reader. Zoey leaves an abusive husband to flee to New York City and live with her sister, Ruth. Ruth grinds out a 9 to 5 job during the week and lives to have fun on weekends. That’s not quite Zoey’s style. She’s left her deadbeat husband for a year trial separation, and she’s working hard on weekends to build up her fledgling catering business.
Tristan Malloy calls Zoey because he needs someone to prepare and serve a meal for some business acquaintances. When they meet, Zoey is confused about Tristan’s odd choice of clothing, but she senses immediately that he’s sweet. His gentlemanly behavior quickly endears him to her, and she also senses that he’s kind of lost in New York. She decides to take him under her wing and show him the sights, so to speak.
Tristan quickly blossoms, and while Zoey thought he was cute from the start, she begins to see that he’s terrifically handsome, and terrifically nice, to boot. When he shows off his dance skills at the nightclub she’s brought him to, Zoey begins to regret her actions. And when he hires her to cater a private dinner with one of his female business acquaintances, she’s sure she’s made a huge mistake.
They eventually fall like bricks for each other. But when Zoey’s husband comes to New York to bring her home, showing off what he’s accomplished so she’ll stay with him, what will Zoey do?
The plot, the dialogue, the romance, are all done just right. Zoey is like Evanovich’s other female main characters; she’s not slim and gorgeous. Instead, she’s got sexy curves and doesn’t hide her love of food. Readers will enjoy watching the tension between Zoey and Tristan turn into something else entirely.
Evanovich’s writing just keeps getting better, her characters get more and more relatable and likable, and the endings ever more satisfying — and just to be clear, I’ve enjoyed all her books. Be sure to also read “The Sweet Spot,” “Big Girl Panties,” “The Total Package,” and an exclusive interview with Evanovich.
Originally posted on Bookreporter.com.
Please note, this review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by William Morrow, the publisher, for review purposes.