Sometimes the courage to face your greatestfears comes only when you’ve run out of ways to escape.
At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrialoven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in thekitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She’s lost her culinary magic, andbusiness is slowing down.
When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvycelebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shiftbeneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she’s losing her dream.
And her means of escape.
When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelmingsense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapesavailable, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabethfinds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle asJane undergoes chemotherapy.
As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature,Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can aNew York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she onceabandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?
I was so impressed with Katherine Reay’s debut last year and I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on this novel. My thoughts:
What I liked:
The food. This book will make you want to eat, so have some food at hand. Elizabeth is a chef. The kind you see on the food network. Everything about her revolves around food. It’s how she connects with people, how she thinks of people, how she helps people. Elizabeth can even remember every food scene in every book she’s ever read. You cannot escape it, and I didn’t want to.
Austen. Anyone who has ever heard of Pride & Prejudice should know that Lizzy & Jane are the main sisters in the novel, and the author knows this as well. There are tons of Austen references (and Hemingway, go figure). And I love that I could catch them.
Lizzy and Jane. They are sisters who are not very close, but get closer over time. And they are so well developed. I felt like I knew what would upset them, what would make them happy, how they would react to different things. No caricatures here.
Spiritually, the novel stresses that God works everything for the good of those who love him. The novel is not heavy on spiritual things, it’s very subtle, but it’s there.
What I didn’t like:
This book took me days to finish. Not because the writing was bad, but because I got to the fifth chapter and realized that it was women’s fiction and not a romance novel. For me, women’s fiction = women trying to get along with each other. I don’t know if its because I have sisters or grew up with tons of female cousins, but women getting along together is not exciting for me. The book is beautifully done and a treat to read, but I wasn’t as involved in the plot.
Romantic Scale: 7
Overall, a very good second novel, but just not what I was expecting.
** I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**