Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

The Recipe Club
A Tale of Food and Friendship
A Novel
By Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
358 Pages

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities.  Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproviing father.  Val, shy and idealistic - and surprisingly ambitious - struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true. 

In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets - and recipes.  The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond through the decades, regardless of what different paths they take or what misunderstanding threaten to break them apart....until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

Now years later, while trying to recapture the trust they've lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more - only to discover a shocking secret.  Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them ever closer?

I received this book through Librarything, but haven't gotten a chance to review it until now.  I was intrigued by this book because of the friendship storyline intertwined with recipes.  What I was delighted to find was the story was told through an epistolary journey, first as adults, and then flashed back to their childhood and back through adulthood again.  Reading the story through letters to eachother made the story move quite quickly and kept you wanting to turn the page.  Plus all the recipes mixed throughout the book really added to the story.  Each recipe was specifically chosen for the situation that the girls were in.

I really enjoyed the drama both Val and Lilly had with their parents. But, I did tend to get frustrated with the selfishness of all characters involved.  Without giving away the ending, I was happy with the way Lilly and Val's lives came around and how the authors ended the book.

If you like novels about friendship and cooking, this one is a must read for you.  Many of the recipes are ones I want to try.  Luckily I have the book to keep and do just that.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars!

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