Like Fanny Savage, Elizabeth Buchan's protagonist in her 2003 novel The Good Wife Strikes Back, when I have seen an unloved neglected kitchen, whether on an HGTV show, online, or in person, I automatically start thinking of changes I would make if it were mine, and I bet you do, too. You probably even do that when you see pictures of my kitchen!
I began reading Buchan's novels years ago after reading her Consider the Lily that won the 1994 Romantic Novel of the Year Award. I didn't consider it a romance novel as it seemed too literary for that. I loved it, still have it on a bookshelf. I also kept this paperback, liking the ending very much.
And I loved Fanny's ideas for the kitchen in her father's ancestral villa in Italy, where she goes after his death, questioning whether she can remain married. The kitchen needs some loving care and Fanny thinks....
If this were my kitchen, I would love it so tenderly...I would make it glow in creams and yellows and whites. I would scrub and bleach the table, place blue and white china plates on a dresser and hang fresh bouquets of herbs. In return, on cold evenings, it would invite me to make Benedetta's mushroom risotto, lashed into perfection with Parmesan and butter. On hot ones, when the sun slithered down the sky and the air was pungent with the aroma of herbs and citrus, it would hint, perhaps, at grilled chicken with lemon...If the Casa Rosa were my house, I would make up the beds with old linen sheets and polish the floors with beeswax, as the women in the family must have done when its fortune had been high. I would plant spinach and chard and beans in the plot behind the house and arrange books on the shelf beside the fire.
I probably should see what Elizabeth Buchan is writing now. After a while I felt that she was writing to a much younger audience than I was in but now that she is older herself--I just searched her online and she's just a few years younger than I am--maybe her books would once again stay on my bookshelves.
That is, if I like the kitchens in her books.