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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway

Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway
Pimiento Cheese Spread
Welcome to the TLC Book Tours stop for the first novel by Lauren K. Denton, The Hideaway! Although bits and pieces (pun totally intended if you read this) of this story are set in New Orleans, the majority of it takes place in a charming little town in Alabama called Sweet Bay.

When Sara Jenkins loses her grandmother Mags, she believes she loses the only family she has in the world. So when she leaves her busy life in New Orleans to go back to her sleepy home town of Sweet Bay, she doesn't intend to stay long. But life sometimes has its own plans. At the reading of Mags's will, Sara finds out that she has inherited the charming, but somewhat neglected B&B that she grew up in, called The Hideaway...and her grandmother's live-in best friends to go with it.
Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway
With an initial plan to restore The Hideaway to its original glory per Mags's request, Sara hires a contractor and gets to work. Almost immediately she stumbles on a box of her grandmother's precious keepsakes, which set her world a spin. She begins to realize that she never really knew the real Mags, and that her eccentricity was really just a shield that she put up to hide her past...and her pain.

Once Sara realizes that she's fallen back in love with the place she grew up, and with the people in it, she finds herself having to fight to keep what should be rightfully hers. She also has to decide who she wants to be, and which version of her happy life she wants to pursue—the new relaxed, fulfilled Sweet Bay Sara, or the former always-busy, no time for much other than work Sara.
Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway
This book is set in two time periods and from two points of view—Sara (present day), and Mags (1960 through present day). While the story was overall a good one with a content ending, I found it to be incredibly sad in parts. I actually cried hard enough to have to stop reading for a few minutes at one point. But really, I think this has to do with personal experiences, and how certain aspects of this story mirror them.

What about the food, you ask? Well, while I wouldn't label it a "foodie read", there is definitely a ton of food throughout...most of it good, Southern food. If I were to create a menu around The Hideaway, it would consist of that sort of comfort food that the words "southern cooking" conjure up: Gumbo, Biscuits 'n Gravy, Chicken Salad, Cornbread, Butter Beans, Homemade Pie  (in particular, Strawberry and Chocolate pies), Fried Chicken, Coleslaw, Hummingbird Cake, Catfish Pie, Potato Chip Cookies, and Pimiento Cheese—all of which were mentioned in the book.
Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway
I chose to go with Pimiento (or Pimento - I know spelling is  big debate on this one) Cheese, because, 1) I haven't had any in years, and 2) I craved it the entire time I was reading the book, even though it was mentioned early on, and 3) Southern food.

She struggled to open a Tupperware container of pimiento cheese. A tray of crackers sat on the counter next to her.

The Hideaway

The Hideaway

author: Lauren K. Denton
publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 11, 2017)
genre: Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Small Town & Rural

soft cover:352 pages

"foodie" read: No, but there is definitely food inspiration on the pages.

opening sentence: Sunsets in Sweet Bay have always made me feel a little like a child.

teaser: When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

about the author: Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.
Lauren K. Denton, author

connect with the author: website | facebook | twitter | instagram

recipe inspired by the book: Pimiento Cheese


yield: ~2 cupsprint recipe
Pimiento Cheese | The Hideaway

Pimento Cheese

prep time: 10 MINScook time: total time: 10 mins
Pimento cheese spread is a classic Southern staple consisting of sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimiento peppers...and each cook's personal spin.


  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise (start with lower amount, and add more if you want it looser)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at soft room temperature
  • 6 ounces drained diced pimientos (or equivalent roasted red bell pepper, peeled & diced)
  • 2 tablespoons grated sweet onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne


  1. Use a wooden spoon or stiff rubber scraper (spatula) to beat together all of the ingredients until smooth and well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (the flavors will develop more the longer it sits).
Created using The Recipes Generator

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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