When in Doubt, Add Butter

Beth Harbison

St. Martin's Griffin

From New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me Beth Harbison comes When In Doubt, Add Butter, a scrumptious new novel about food and love, and the longings of the heart…


As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and retro party food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but to whom she feels a magnetic attraction, in part, due to his taste for full-on comfort food. 

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.



Read an Excerpt


When I was twelve, a fortune-teller at the Herbert Hoover Junior High School carnival said to me: “Gemma Craig, you listen to me. Do not get married. Ever. If you do, you’ll end up cooking for a man who’d rather eat at McDonald’s; doing laundry for a man who sweats like a rabid pig, then criticizes you for not turning his T-shirts right side out; and cleaning the bathroom floor after a man whose aim is so bad, he can’t hit a hole the size of a watermelon—”

This man sounded disgusting.





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    Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook for When in Doubt, Add Butter.



Praise for When in Doubt, Add Butter

Praise for When In Doubt, Add Butter

“Harbison dazzles in her latest, a perfect blend of chick lit and women’s fiction…Absolutely first-rate.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A lovable heroine and an engaging cast of eccentrics makes for a cheerful summer read."--Kirkus Reviews

"Harbison’s airy prose, likable heroine, colorful characters, and engaging story are sure to appeal to fans of Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, and Emily Giffin. Think of “When in Doubt, Add Butter” as a soufflé. It’s a tasty dish of light, escapist reading."--The Examiner.com

"Harbison's cast of characters is delightful."--She Knows Book Lounge

"Delicious, just like dessert."--People Magazine on When in Doubt, Add Butter



In the Press

WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER by Beth Harbison | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER . Carried by an appealing narrator, this latest from the bestselling author of <em>Shoe Addicts Anonymous<em> (2007, etc.) features the exploits of a personal chef and her collection of oddball clients.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Beth Harbison

  • Beth Harbison is The New York Times bestselling author of Always Something There to Remind Me; Thin, Rich, Pretty; Hope in a Jar; Secrets of a Shoe Addict, and Shoe Addicts Anonymous. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., and now shares her time between that suburb, New York City, and a quiet home on the Eastern shore.
  • Beth Harbison Photo: John Harbison
    Beth Harbison


Available Formats and Book Details

When in Doubt, Add Butter

Beth Harbison



St. Martin's Griffin