©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Together at the Table

I can only hope that Hillary Manton Lodge will publish a cookbook. The recipes and techniques that she writes about in her books are not to be missed. I've made a few of her recipes and want to make more. While I read her latest offering in the Two Blue Doors series, I was fascinated by the homemade pasta recipe and now I want a pasta maker attachment for my KitchenAid™ Mixer.

But this tells nothing of the book or its quality. First, I want to get the rating out of the way--Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and some homemade ravioli for dinner.

Hillary Manton Lodge has taken the D'Alisa family through some tough times. Julietta has had a couple of bad romances, the family lost Gabriella--mother and wife, Nico has had a failed restaurant, and now Julietta and Nico are starting up another new restaurant in their grandmother's patisserie while Julietta lives upstairs in the apartment. Julietta is having a hard time getting past her mother's death and her now boyfriend Adrian just doesn't understand. When Julietta tells Adrian she wants a quiet birthday, he plans a huge blow-out party. While on a date in the Park with Adrian, Julietta runs into Neil again, and a confusion of old feelings and new feelings just stir the pot just as Julietta is getting her sea-legs underneath her. Things just aren't working out for Julietta.

There are things that are looking up--Two Blue Doors is more of a success than she and Nico ever dreamed, Julietta takes some time to go visit Catarina in Chicago, and then after Christmas, the whole family goes to visit the cousins in France and the Italian family comes to France to visit everyone as well. Julietta has a key that she found in her grandmother's prep table and she takes that key with her to France to search Sandrine's house. With Sandrine's permission, Julietta tries to find the door that the key fits and then finds her grandmother's diary.

There is so much to say about this book that would spoil it for anyone reading my review. BUT, Hillary has developed her characters over three books to the point they have become friends. The reader becomes so enmeshed in their lives that they become friends with the characters. The settings create the perfect environment for the tale to move through the characters' lives. The plot has just enough action to keep the reader involved, but the recipes and the food will make the reader gain a few pounds in the reading. It just happens.

Waterbrook Multnomah provided the galley I read. The only obligation was that I read and review the book with my honest opinion.

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