Soy Sauce for Beginners - Kirstin Chen
It's not quite up to the standards of a 4 star rating, but better than a 3 star, and since I can't give it 3 1/2, I rounded up.

Kirsten Chen is a newcomer, and while I found her debut offering, Soy Sauce for Beginners to be charming and her characters relatable, it did have a few rough patches. The book blurb and other reviews have done an adequate job summarizing the plot, so I'll skip that part of the review.

I'll start with the positive. Ms. Chen has a mastery of the language which allows the reader to feel fully immersed in what she describes. At the beginning of the story, she vividly describes the climate in Singapore, and does it so well, that I almost feel like it is a memory from my own past when I think about it, despite the fact that I have never been to Singapore.

My main issue with Soy Sauce for Beginners was with the ending of the story, which I found to be rather abrupt. Everything was tied up neatly and quickly, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. My issue was that it was just too quick and too neat.

Gretchen, the protagonist, went from being a woman floundering between two countries, two men, and two possible careers to a woman who had everything figured out within a span of about 2 days. I would have liked to have seen a little more character development (and maybe a little more drama where the men were concerned) over a longer period of time to make her choice a little more believable.

Despite this criticism, I still found it an enjoyable story, and I would be willing to read more from this writer.