The Slowest Burn

A Novel

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Pub Date Sep 24 2024 | Archive Date Oct 08 2024
St. Martin's Press | St. Martin's Griffin


"A five course feast of longing, banter, gourmet cooking, heaps of spice, and a cherry on top happily ever after. I devoured this fake dating, celebrity chef romance."Erin La Rosa, author of Plot Twist and For Butter or Worse

Business or Pleasure meets Evvie Drake Starts Over in this delicious opposites-attract romance from debut author Sarah Chamberlain.

Sometimes the perfect recipe just needs a little extra heat.

Ellie Wasserman’s life is neat and tidy, and that’s exactly how she wants it. Really. A top ghostwriter for celebrity cookbooks, she was widowed three years ago and has no interest in taking chances—not on writing her own cookbook, not on telling her still-grieving in-laws she wants to move out, and certainly not on dating, which is about as intimidating as a recipe with fifty steps.

Kieran O’Neill isn’t known for being organized. An up-and-coming chef who scored big on a reality television competition, he’s been the guy who cracks jokes and makes messes—something his chilly family has never let him forget. The only place he feels truly capable is at the stove. But when he’s paired with an uptight ghostwriter with cool blue eyes and distracting curves to write his debut cookbook, she shreds his class clown act like a paring knife cuts an orange peel.

As Ellie and Kieran are forced to work closely together in a hot kitchen for weeks on end, their sharp edges and harsh judgments slowly soften and sweeten into a wildly delicious attraction. Long, steamy days turn into even steamier nights, but they have to face their painful pasts to know if this tender new love can transform into something lasting.

"A romance as sharp as it is sweet. Fans of Emily Henry will devour this delectable story of love lost and found."Cecilia Rabess

"A five course feast of longing, banter, gourmet cooking, heaps of spice, and a cherry on top happily ever after. I devoured this fake dating, celebrity chef romance."Erin La Rosa, author of Plot...

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ISBN 9781250894724
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Average rating from 272 members

Featured Reviews

I feel compelled to share how deeply this book resonated with me. Chamberlain has crafted an intimate exploration of healing and connection that manages to feel both deeply personal and universally relevant. The main characters in this narrative are developed with incredible care and complexity. Their gradual emotional journey, filled with vulnerability and tentative trust, really pulled me in. The way they grapple with their past traumas while tentatively building a future added a profound depth to their interactions, making each development feel significant and earned.

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This book was just what I wanted. I love reading books about food. The romance was so cute and the plot was perfectly done. I would highly recommend this book!

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I loved this book! THE SLOWEST BURN is one of the best romcoms I've read in a while, and I already know it'll be one of my favorites of the year. I was intrigued by the gorgeous cover and the plot description, but luckily, what's inside was even better! The story follows Ellie and Kieran, two total opposites who are forced to work on a cookbook together (Ellie is a ghostwriter for celebrity cookbooks, Kieran has just signed a book deal for his debut). While they may start off on the wrong foot, their work partnership soon becomes something more. But with their own personal struggles to work through, and their own individual dreams to follow, can Ellie and Kieran's romance withstand the heat outside of the kitchen?

There were so many things I really enjoyed about the story—the Jewish rep (loved reading about Ellie's Shabbos dinners with her in-laws!), the mouthwatering descriptions of food, the writing style in general. But I particularly loved that Ellie and Kieran were just such real, relatable characters. Ellie was always the primary caregiver for her younger brother growing up, and although she and her late husband Max adored each other, theirs was also a relationship where she put her needs on the back burner to take care of him. Even three years after his sudden, tragic death, the pattern is now repeating with her in-laws. Kieran grew up in a chilly, distant household where his parents never truly understood him, and his ADHD and dyslexia made it even more difficult. Now, he's the winner of a hit reality TV cooking show, but still, no one will fully take him seriously. It was so sweet to see how Ellie and Kieran supported each other, helped each other heal, and pushed each other out of the boxes that people had put them in. Plus, they just complemented each other really well (love a Black Cat/Golden Retriever couple!). Kieran shows Ellie that she can put herself first and shine in her own spotlight, and Ellie shows Kieran that he can be taken seriously without losing his fun-loving, carefree nature.

Overall, THE SLOWEST BURN was a definite fave for me! Good pacing, unique plot (that still included some of the tropes everyone knows and loves), well-developed characters, swoon-worthy romance, what's not to like? If you love sweet romcoms that also have tons of depth and complexity, pick this one up this fall! I can't wait to see what Sarah Chamberlain writes next. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC.

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I received an advance copy of this book in ebook format in order to provide feedback. Now that I have that out of the way…. WOW!!! This book was so great! Starting out with Kieran and Ellie butting heads allowed the scene to be set and built upon. This book had amazing character development and really made me fall in love with the characters. I was rooting for everyone to get their happy endings. This was an amazing read and I would highly recommend it!

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Thank you St Martin Press and Netgalley for providing me this galley copy for my review. All opinions are my own.


The Slowest burn is such a cute chef x ghostwriter romance that I think many people will love it and devour it.

I think the setting is unique enough to keep you engaged but what really makes this debut shine is the characters. They are super relatable. Ellie, finding love after loss and especially dealing with her in laws makes you grow more attached to her.

For me the pacing was perfect, true enemies to lovers which I completely ate up! I also loved our main character, she has spunk and she’s not going to take things lying down.

I also love how personal everyone was even the side characters had heart to them.

What to get you excited:

Foodie romance🥗
Love after loss 🌧️
Neurodivergent lead 🥰
Love after loss 🫶
Reverse grumpy sunshine ☀️
Opposites attract 👀
Open door spice 2/5 🌶️🌶️

If you are fans of Tessa Bailey and Katherine Center I think you would love this gorgeous debut!

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The Slowest Burn delivers a delicious contemporary romance with two relatable characters drawn to one another like a moth to a flame. Ellie and Kieran are the definition of pinning, longing, and a slow burn. The title couldn’t have fit the book better. 

First off, the premise of reading a book where one of the characters is ghostwriting a cookbook is so unique I loved it. I’ve never read something like it, and it's such an interesting concept. I channeled my inner “expert” top chief critiques (that I have from binge-watching the show multiple times a year) while reading. --The cover is gorgeous as well.

Some of the tropes:
- Dual POV
- He Falls First
- Grief, Death of a Loved One
- Slow Burn
- Fake Dating
- Black Cat/Golden Retriever (Reverse grumpy sunshine)
- Mental Health Representation

I can’t believe this is Sarah Chamberlain’s debut novel and will absolutely be checking out whatever she releases next.

Thank you to the publisher; St. Martin's Press, the author; Sarah Chamberlain, and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this ARC. This is my unbiased opinion and is given with free will.

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I could not put this book down! Thanks to St. Martins Press for the advance reader copy. I have never read a Sarah Chamberlain book, and was pleasantly surprised. This book is written in both characters' viewpoints, and their story has a great element of enemies to lovers. Kieran, a local chef and reality cooking show champion, is paired with Ellie to write his first cookbook. Their opposite personalities clash at first, and his reluctance to write a book infuriates her. As they get to know each other, they discover they love cooking and working together, and the relationship takes off from there. Both characters have childhood trauma, that Chamberlain addresses in a sensitive way. Also, Ellie is a widow with close ties to her in-laws, which adds more drama and layers to the story. Their personal lives eventually blow up their professional lives, and they part ways. The ending wraps up the story beautifully, and you feel great about their futures, both career-wise and for their relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will look for more Sarah Chamberlain novels to read in the future!

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Inspirational, as in I want to savor the moments when my own love feels like Kieran and Ellie’s. This book is honestly everything! It starts as enemies to lovers, with luminous forced proximity in a California cottage as Kieran and Ellie attempt to figure out how to work together on his cookbook. Chamberlain’s characters feature genuine stories (she’s a young widow, he has ADHD and dyslexia) that shine with the MOST CLEVER banter. I’m a foodie and everything about the way their cooking is written sings. Their challenge and resolution reads authentic, yet loving. The spicy scenes feel realistic, and also aspirational. Honestly, I am left inspired, surprised, and swooning! I cannot wait to read more from this author, and it’s a book of the year for me!

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I really enjoyed this book and appreciated that the main characters weren't the picture perfect standard of beauty like in most rom-coms, but they were real, unique, and beautiful nonetheless. To me, this book was all about character development, which I thought the author executed really well. I also enjoyed the cooking aspect and loved the imagery.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC!

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We are in San Francisco, Ellie a cookbook ghostwriter, recently widowed, starts working for the grumpy Kieran. The story between the two is, as the title says, slow burn, and we see their relationship go from enemies-to-lovers. The spicy is very spicy, pardon my word pun. We have double pov, a beautiful city, a cooking romance, what else? But what distinguishes this story, in my opinion, it's their diversity, they are not the "usual" handsome protagonists of romances, but normal people, with some flaws, which never hurts.
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for this arc in exchange for an honest opinion.

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