Reviewer: Nicola Smith – Short Book and Scribes

Publisher:   Avon    9th December 2021

ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-0008469115        PB

 

The dedication at the beginning of The Arctic Curry Club, to people who live with anxiety, gives some indication that this is not going to be a completely fluffy read. The main character, Maya, lives with quite debilitating anxiety on a daily basis. Maya is of Indian/English descent but has never quite felt at home anywhere. Even now, she’s following her boyfriend, Ryan, to the Arctic where he’s going to monitor polar bears, but she has no idea what she’s going to do there herself.

First of all, I loved the settings of the Arctic and India, where Maya travels for family reasons. What a contrast, but both so fascinating and rich with culture and new experiences for her. She’s an accomplished cook and the discovery of her late mother’s recipe book combined with the possibility of a job cooking at the End of the Road cabins lead her to greater confidence and eventually to her pop up Arctic Curry Club, a concept that I loved (especially when there’s a very unexpected guest one night!).

I really enjoyed Maya’s growth throughout the book and the list-making that helps her deal with her anxiety. I loved how she eventually pushed herself and achieved so much with her fantastic curry club and also how she finally began to deal with her past. Sometimes I wanted to shake her, I must admit, but ultimately she’s a very likeable heroine.

I’m glad I read the Arctic Curry Club. I particularly enjoyed the food references and Maya’s descriptions of what she was cooking. Some of it was a bit unusual to say the least, but inspired too. This book might be set in a very cold climate but it’s full of warmth, heart and tantalising tastes. It’s a delightful debut.