Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Lizzy & Jane

Lizzy & Jane. Katherine Reay. 2014. 339 pages. [Source: Bought]

One misstep can kill a New York restaurant.

Did I love, love, love Lizzy & Jane like I loved, loved, loved Dear Mr. Knightley? Not really. The books are quite different from one another. Lizzy & Jane was good. But I just didn't love it. Not that swept-up-wow-kinda-love.

Lizzy & Jane will appeal to those who love to read about food, who love to cook, or who love the idea of loving to cook. Lizzy, the heroine, is the head chef of a New York restaurant, Feast. She oh-so-relunctantly takes a leave of absence to go spend some time with her sister and father. The family could accurately be described as broken. Elizabeth isn't really on good terms with her father or sister. She's not wanted to deal with her family. I don't think she is angry at her father so much as unable to cope with visiting her father. The pain is just too great since her mother's death--cancer. She IS angry with her sister, Jane, however. Angry that her sister never came home when their mother was sick and dying. That she barely made an appearance at the funeral. They have plenty of unresolved issues. And now that Jane has cancer, well, Elizabeth does not want to deal with that. But. Oh-so-relunctantly she will. She'll reconnect with her Dad and sister. She'll spend time with her niece and nephew. She'll go with her sister to chemotherapy. She'll meet other cancer patients. She'll deal with the uncomfortable-ness of it all.

Jane has no appetite. She doesn't really like to eat or want to eat. But Elizabeth won't budge. She is the best cook in the whole world. She WILL make something that her sister will love to eat and be able to keep down. She will. She must. She won't let herself fail. With her sister as an ongoing challenge and inspiration, she spends much of her time experimenting in the kitchen.

(She'll even take on other patients to experiment on.)

Lizzy & Jane is also a romance novel. Elizabeth falls in love with someone she meets while staying with her sister. (A neighbor and coworker, I believe.) He's a single father. One thing that I did love about the book is the relationship between Elizabeth and Nick. (I also loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Jane.)

What I didn't quite love was all the food talk: the descriptions of shopping for food, creating recipes,  preparing food, cooking food, tasting food. I found it odd that Elizabeth was 'inspired' by particular books to create different recipes specifically for cancer patients. That is patient A reads this author, so I'll cook this, this, and that. Patient B reads that author, so I'll cook this, this, and that. I don't think liking a particular author has much of anything to do with what you like to eat or want to eat. The authors that inspire her recipes are Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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