A TABLE BY THE WINDOW : A NOVEL OF FAMILY SECRETS AND HEIRLOOM RECIPES
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?
After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.
Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?
True confession: I'm not a foodie but I've enjoyed a number of foodfest kind of reads lately, including this one. In fact, at times I read over all the food references with a kind of glazed fascination -- they sound so divine but mean absolutely nothing to me. It's like reading bits of an exotic language and trying to find the meaning in context. I'm not often successful, but those words and phrases still add to the ambiance of the read.
This story is liberally laced with food references. I mean I've never 'watched' a heroine eat so many times in one book -- and with such gusto. But it all works because not only is food Juliette's life, but her entire family's as well. Loved the dining scenes the best, no matter who was in them. I think I gained weight just reading this book. And the author has included a recipe in every single chapter so that's fun too.
Told in first person point of view, this is definitely Juliette's story. Loved the subtle wit that tempers even the most serious situations. Like when she decides to continue writing to a man she's met online because: "He expressed himself well, even using a semi-colon accurately." (p.92) And referring to her family, "Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Dinner with my family is like that, but not Greek and with smaller hair." (pg.210) Such a fun read!
And the mystery is delightfully intriguing but -- gasp -- just as we're getting to the good part, the story ends, obviously to be continued in the second book, Reservations For Two which released April 2015. I should be perturbed about that that, but Lodge's storytelling is so engaging I find myself forgiving her and am definitely eager to read book 2 in the Two Blue Doors series.
And a side note: I was surprised to find a lack of inspirational thread in this Waterbrook Press novel. There are a few references to prayer and church attendance but all that happens 'off page.' I missed the character growth that comes from a faith themed story.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of A Table by the Window please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday August 16 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!