Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Book Tour Stops Here: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes with Toast and Cara Cara Orange Butter

Hardcover: 416 pages 
Publisher: Harper (June 5, 2012)

Summary: Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one: Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends agree as each in turn falls under his spell, But what begins as a flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasing erratic, controlling behavior becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears.  Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine, plans a meticulous escape.  Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine--now Cathy--compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one.  But when an attractive upstairs neighbor, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible ... until she receives a phone call…

The book starts with the transcripts of the trial of Lee Brightman, Catherine's abusive  boyfriend, then uses concurrent timelines to tell both the story of Catherine's downward spiraling relationship with Lee, as well as four years later when she is trying to recover from the trauma, moving to a new city, calling herself Cathy and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Her new upstairs neighbor Stuart, gradually begins to break through her brittle shell and gets Cathy to start facing her fears, until she finds out Lee has been released from prison and her terror begins to build again. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes is a page turner. The subject matter of extreme domestic violence was hard to read at times, but the suspense kept me going. From the start you know the general outcome of Catherine and Lee, but not the depths of his violence, so getting to that point is suspenseful. In the alternating timeline, Cathy's struggles to lead a normal life and overcome her OCD are engrossing, then apprehension builds as Cathy begins to see signs that Lee may have found her. The 400 pages went by quickly and kept me up into the night.

Into the Darkest Corner was selected as Amazon UK's Best Book of 2011, and is releasing in the U.S. in June. Author Elizabeth Haynes is is a police intelligence analyst and lives in Kent with her husband and son. This is her first book and I think it is very cool that it started as part of the annual National Novel Writing Project (NaNoWriMo).

I always partner my book reviews with a recipe inspired by the book. That was a little harder for this book. There  is food in it, but at its core it is a dark thriller about domestic abuse--not exactly meal inspiring. I decided to look to the more hopeful side of Cathy for something to make. After drinking a bit too much wine and kissing her neighbor Stuart one night, he invites her over for a breakfast of bacon and eggs. "On the the small kitchen table, with a pot of tea, a neat rack with steaming toast in it, a jar of orange marmalade." I've been on a Cara Cara orange kick lately, buying the seedless tangy sweet pinkish-red fleshed citrus whenever I can. I had the remains of a large bag from Costco and although orange marmalade seemed too much of a pain to mess with, Cara Cara Orange Curd seemed like a wonderful idea. Cathy's relationship with Stuart and its effect on her strength and confidence are the bright spots in the book, so this sunny-hued, sweet spread is a good fit.

I adapted a citrus curd recipe from a class I took. It has less butter and sugar than my favorite decadent lilikoi curd recipe--not that it is a health food. ;-) I found some English Toasting Bread in my grocery store bakery to spread it on, and accompanied it with a small pot of tea.

Cara Cara Orange Curd (or Any Citrus Curd)
Adapted from a Citrus Curd Recipe from Chef Laura Gershuni
(Makes approximately 2 cups)

3 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh Cara Cara orange juice (or other citrus juice)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
pinch salt

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar and juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until the mixture becomes thick, (about 10 minutes). 

Remove from heat. Whisk butter pieces into the mixture, one at a time until the butter has melted. Mix in zest and a pinch of salt. Cover immediately with plastic wrap to prevent a "skin" from forming and refrigerate. (The curd will continue to thicken as it cools). 

Notes/Results: Pretty coral color and lightly sweet, this is one tasty curd. It has a mellower flavor than lemon curd and is delicious spread on an English Muffin or piece of toast. I will make this again.

Note: A review copy of Into the Darkest Corner was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.



  1. Wow Deb, thanks for the great book review-I'm adding to my "Must read" list and I love the Cara Cara Curd. 

  2. This sounds like an even darker version of 50shades...if that's possible.  I might have to read it.

    I haven't made a curd in far too long!  This cara cara orange version sounds downright delectable!

  3. I've been buying Cara Cara oranges here lately and I love them! I'd never thought of orange curd. This sounds amazing! I may make some up with the next bag I buy. 

  4. Yeah, domestic abuse doesn't exactly inspire great meal ideas, but I think you did a great job with this one anyway!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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