Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.
In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.
As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?
Review: What a great book. Seriously.
Things I love about this book:
-The food. Really, the food. Constant descriptions of deliciousness; it made me want to cook more. And eat more.
-The sister stuff. Although my relationship with my own sister isn't strained like this one, I definitely related to Elizabeth and her attempts to bond with her older sister.
-The literary references. Being an Austen fan, I appreciated how Austen's world and her novels are a big part of this novel without it being a "retelling." I like how there are other books besides Austen's that play a big part, too. And I really like how Elizabeth knew her source material well and related it all back to food.
-I LOVE watching Elizabeth find herself again and come back to what's really important in life. She has one set of priorities at the beginning of the novel, and over the course of the story, she slowly comes to reevaluate those priorities.
-I LOVE how Christian it is. Which is to say: Not that much. The main characters are all Christian, and every once in a while they talk about how God will take care of them and loves them and stuff, and that's pretty much it, besides the fact that there's no swearing or sex. Which I appreciated A LOT.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-book, snark-attack, thought-provoking
This book fulfills category 6 of the Eclectic Reader Challenge, Fiction for Foodies.