Book Review | The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

I finally signed up for Book of the Month (BOTM) in August. I was actually very disappointed in the selection compared to July, but I am doing a three month comparison of BOTM and Page 1 book subscriptions, so I wanted a book from both for my comparison. Several lovely bookstagram ladies recommended The Dinner List, and I rolled with it because of Audrey Hepburn.

BOTM is a subscription service where you pay $14.99/month and get to choose your book at the beginning of the month. Additional books are only $9.99 and sometimes, apparently, you have the option of choosing a book that is not released yet, as was the case with The Dinner List.

Page 1 is a subscription service that chooses a book for you based on your interests. You can choose from several types of subscriptions (classics, fiction, mystery, etc). You have to sign up for the subscription in 3-, 6-, or 12- month subscriptions, but I promise you will LOVE it! If Page 1 sends you a book that you have already read or own, they will send you another book at no cost AND you get to keep the book they sent you so you can pass it on to someone or donate it! And that is my favorite part of Page 1.

I have a referral link for BOTM here and a code at Page 1 (enter RAW10 at checkout to save some $$). If you have questions about either service, please drop me a comment down below!

And now let’s get to the review!

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ 3.89 
My Rating: ★★★★★ 4.5
Page Count: 273 pages (BOTM edition)
Genre(s): Contemporary, magical realism
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: September 11, 2018

Plot: 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.

Review: I did not know much about this book going in except Sabrina shows up to her thirtieth birthday dinner party and is surprised to see several people sitting at the table, including her father, whom she has not seen since she was a child, and Audrey Hepburn. We have all probably answered the question, “If you could have dinner with five people, dead or alive, who would you choose?” For some unknown reason, Sabrina’s list actually happens and we are thrown in to the mystery of why all of these people are together.

I chose this book during my “Try a Chapter Tag” post earlier this month, and I was very surprised that this was the book I chose to read out of my choices. The story really just jumps right in with Sabrina showing up at dinner. Each chapter is an alternating timeline-you get a snippet of dinner conversation and then you are pulled in to the past to learn about Sabrina and her on-again, off-again boyfriend of almost ten years. There was a twist about two-thirds through the book and I had to put the book down because I did not, in a million years, see it coming.

Final Thoughts: This book would have been a 5 star read, but honestly, I felt like the chapters at the dinner party were the same conversation over and over, especially when Jessica, Sabrina’s best friend, would offer her opinions. I really hated Jessica because she seemed like a judge-y person that I would tell off in a heartbeat. But I also related so much to Sabrina and Jessica’s friendship because I have gone through similar changes with friends as we got older and wanted different things in life. There was also one character at dinner that I feel like the book never fully explained why he was there. I would have liked to have known more about this character and Sabrina’s relationship.

The best parts of this book are the background chapters about Sabrina’s relationship. I usually do not go for romance books, and honestly I didn’t know this was so romance heavy, but this was such a raw, real story about a relationships today and I loved it. I loved that the relationship wasn’t perfect because that is real life. There are some wonderful lessons to learn from this book, and I highly recommend it, even if you normally shy away from romance books.

Thanks so much for stopping in to read my review. You can pick up a copy of The Dinner List on September 11 or sign up for BOTM using my referral link and choose it as your second (or third!) book in September!

9 thoughts on “Book Review | The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

  1. I totally agree with your review. I received the book from NetGalley and rushed to read it because of Audrey too! Jessica annoyed me. I was surprised a bit in the novel so that was nice.


    1. Jessica should have went to pump and then never be allowed back to the table 🤣 She just repeated the same stuff over and over. Relationships are not the exact same for everybody. She really got on my nerves LOL


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