Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

Title: The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship
Authors: Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel
Publisher: Polhemus Press
Publication Date: October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 363 pages
Age Group: Adult

Lilly and Valerie grow up as the best of friends until college when everything changes. Twenty-six years later, after the death of Valerie's mother, the two attempt to reconnect only to discover that time has not healed any of their wounds. When Lilly's father dies, will Lilly and Valerie finally make peace with their past or will a new secret destroy their friendship forever?

The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship is mainly told in emails and letters with lots of recipes included. I have never read a novel with this format before and I was pleasantly surprised by it. The letters provided insight into Lilly and Valerie as each of them told their side of the story. The authors did a great job channeling the strong emotions of both the main characters. When Lilly and Valerie attempt to reconnect after the death of Valerie's mother, I was shocked at how quickly they angered with each other and how fast they both started blaming what happened on anyone other than themselves. The letter format also made this book a fast read for me. I was able to read a few letters and then put the book down if I needed to do something else and it was easy to pick up right where I left off.

Lilly and Valerie were very different characters and I wonder if they would have remained friends for so long if their families were not closely tied together in other ways. The creation of the recipe club seemed to give them some common ground when they would have otherwise gone their separate ways. There are definitely some recipes shared by the characters that I want to try!

The third section of this novel threw me off for a little bit as the writing switched back to a more traditional narrative. In reading the letters between the girls, I felt like a part of their recipe club and that I actually knew each of them. The change in style felt like it pushed me back to the outside as a mere observer of the action. For me, the change in style also lessened the emotional impact of that section of the story, which is actually quite an important bit.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship and I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.

Thank you so much to Caitlin at FSB Associates for sending me an advance review copy of The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship.

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