Jan 16, 2015

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay

Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you've run out of ways to escape.

At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She's lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.
When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she's losing her dream. And her means of escape.
When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.
As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature,Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?


Elizabeth thinks she's living her dream, she has her own top restaurant with a loving boss and great staff. Her food used to be the best, but lately she isn't performing very well. Which could be devastating for a restaurant in New York. She has to take a break and could use it very well too. She visits her father and with him her sister Jane, who lives in Seattle. Lizzy and Jane haven't been keeping in touch and the reason for that is something that's happened in the past. Now that Jane has cancer Elizabeth tries to support her sister by taking over her kitchen, accompanying her to the chemotherapy sessions and looking after her children. Slowly she's starting to get used to life in Seattle and the people she's meeting there. Will Lizzy be able to make peace with her sister and what will happen to her beloved restaurant?
Food plays an important role in this book and I loved that. Katherine Reay didn't only write about the food itself, she also used it to describe feelings. The way she's done that is absolutely brilliant. The relationship between Lizzy and Jane is difficult and they have both good and bad moments. Lizzy needs to let go of the past, but that isn't easy as she's still hurting. Slowly she learns how to deal with certain emotions and she starts to open up. New friends play an important role in her life. The same goes for her sister who has to undergo nasty treatments and is going through difficult emotional stages. There are no guarantees, but Lizzy does what she can to help her sister using what she knows best, food. That was so special and it made this novel really, really good. Lizzy & Jane is such a beautiful and impressive story about family, love and friendship. I'm glad I had the chance to read this book.

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