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The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
Contemporary fiction

The Dinner List

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This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Rebecca Serle

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Quick take

If you could invite any five people—dead or alive—to dinner, who would you choose?

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At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner, she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past and, well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Rebecca Serle's The Dinner List.
The Dinner List

7:30 P.M.

"We've been waiting for an hour." That's what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That's the thing I think first. Not Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

Her hair is longer than the image I've always held of her in my mind. She's wearing what looks to be a pantsuit, but her legs are hidden under the table, so it's hard to tell. Her top is black, with a crème-colored collar, three round buttons down the front. A cardigan is looped over the back of her chair.

I step back. I take them all in. All of them. They're seated at a round table, right in the center of the restaurant. Audrey is facing the door, Professor Conrad to her right and Robert to her left. Tobias sits on the other side of Robert, to his left is Jessica, and in between her and Tobias is my empty chair.

"We started without you, Sabrina," Conrad says, holding up his wineglass. He's drinking a deep red; so is Jessica. Audrey has a scotch, neat; Tobias has a beer; Robert has nothing.

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Why I love it

As someone who has watched Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s more times than I can count, I was immediately sucked into The Dinner List, which is about a normal woman who shows up to dinner only to find Audrey Hepburn, snifter of scotch in hand, sitting at the table. The premise of the book is brilliant: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you uncover in that one night?

The story takes place all in one night, at a birthday party for Sabrina (note the namesake here) that four notable people from her past—along with Audrey—attend. It also takes place across an entire decade-long relationship between Sabrina and the great love of her life, Tobias. In one chapter, we’re placed in this mystical dinner setting, and in the next, we’re being fed pieces of their relationship that leave you questioning—what happened between them? We learn not just about Sabrina’s relationship with Tobias, but also about her more strained connections with her father, Robert, as well as with her best friend, Jessica. There’s also a wise and eccentric professor from her college days, oh, and did I mention Audrey Hepburn?

The Dinner List made me swoon, dream, and wonder. While wrapped up in the book, I almost felt as if this too could happen to me. That one night I might wind up at dinner with people who I’ve loved and lost, and finally get a chance to say what I always wished I had said before.

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Member ratings (6,236)

  • Kylee H.

    South paris, ME

    This wasn’t something I was looking forward to reading. I had no idea if I would like it but I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did. It was amazing. Made me cry and definitly made me happy I ordered it

  • Haleigh G.

    St Pete Beach, FL

    This book actually made me cry, but in a good way. I loved the story and it felt like everyone’s day dream of “what if” and “if only”. The ending was bittersweet and worth the read. I loved it.

  • Traci M.

    Hartford, IA

    I didn't really know what to expect when I started reading this book. There was a turn in the middle of the book that I did not see coming and it caught my emotions off guard. I couldn’t put it down!

  • Megan B.

    Belmont, NY

    I finished this book in two nights. It’s a quick read but isn’t without depth. The character’s hearts are too real; I couldn’t stop crying for at least five minutes after I turned the last page.

  • Kayla T.

    San Antonio, TX

    I loved this book! I’m a sucker for magical realism, but this just seemed like so much more. The plot twists, the love, redemption, heartache - it was all so tangible. Easily one of my favorite books!

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