When Belle Lee, a vivacious, tart-tongued daughter of Mobile, Alabama, decides that the only way she'll ever make a name for herself as a journalist is to leave the family paper and head to New York,she soon realizes just how daunting life in the big city can be. An outsider desperate to carve a place for herself in the cutthroat world of New York journalism, Belle marches all over town in her kitten heels and her single Chloé suit to hand-deliver résumés and smiles, and to beg for a job from the indifferent or downright hostile office drones.
She refuses to give up. With heroic persistence,a wicked sense of humor and a taste for the gourmet, Belle sees what it takes to become a New Yorker. She flirts with a gorgeous young man on the subway, only to learn later that he's stolen her purse; braves the judgmental stares of her neighbors; goes on a series of hilariously disastrous dates and then, finally, she catches her big break: a job as a production assistant at a conservative twenty-four-hour news network.
Belle throws herself into her work, sure that her talents will be noticed. All the while, she suffers the sexually suggestive commentary of one of the station's better-known male anchors, doggedly fetches scripts and pulls footage in the wee hours of the morning while working the midnight shift. Belle even maintains her Southern charm, baking cakes for her coworkers and befriending the office security guard.
Things start to look up when Paige Beaumont, the channel's star female news anchor, takes Belle under her wing. Paige shows Belle the ropes, dispenses career advice, includes her in the office gossip and also sets her up on dates at restaurants where, before, Belle had only dreamed of one day being inside. But when Belle uncovers the truth behind an illegal network deal that may jeopardize the election of female presidential candidate Jessica Clayton, she realizes that intelligent and ambitious women need to stick together -- and she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.
With thirty recipes for everything from Bribe-Your-Coworkers Pound Cake to Single-Girl Sustenance and how to make the perfect Manhattan -- all told in the delightful and plucky voice of a determined and saucy young woman -- Belle in the Big Apple is about finding love in the most unlikely places, following your dreams and staying true to yourself.
Brooke Parkhurst: is an author, foodie, new mom and home cook. Her debut novel with recipes, Belle in the Big Apple (Scribner, 08’), features a small town Southern girl who moves to New York City in search of a career--and a good meal. Brooke currently pens an online food column, “Full Plate,” (think Carrie Bradshaw-turned-June Cleaver) for the New York Daily News. She has also hosted ABC’s internet and digital cable food series in addition to acting as the lifestyle/cooking correspondent for Conde Nast’s debut web network. Brooke has been featured on television and in such national and international media outlets as the BBC, Donny Deutsch, New York Times, New York Daily News and New York Post.
She and her chef husband, James Briscione, have been featured in The Knot and The Nest magazines as the “Newlywed Culinary Dream Team” (Oct-Dec issue, 09’). They currently teach couples cooking classes at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education and at the artist’s studio, Studio B, in Alys Beach, Florida. Together, Brooke and James pen a couples cooking column for MyScoop Media.
Brooke, James and their 9 month-old daughter, Parker Lee, currently live and cook in Manhattan’s WestVillage.