Thursday, 9 April 2015

Book Review ~ Lizzy And Jane by Katherine Reay


By Dorothy Adamek 
Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s famous sisters for whom they are named.
Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream—chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.
Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her. And patrons and reviewers are noticing. In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer. After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother. Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.
As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her sister’s care and into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother. Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane—and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy—or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create?

*****

When Lizzy and Jane came up on Rel Mollet’s book club reading list, I was not immediately pulled to the story. Having watched my own mother struggle with cancer, I was not keen to revisit our own family’s dynamics during this battle. Lizzy and Jane delivered the never forgotten chemo days right back into my lap and this proved an emotional reading experience on many levels.

But when the Lizzy and Nick romance thread developed, I found the book hard to let go. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the foodie references and food combinations tinkered with to meet the needs of cancer patients.

Paired together with the delicious references to Jane Austen, Katherine Reay weaves in well known (and lesser known) literary and movie feasts, as well as her beautiful inclusion of home grown produce and gardens. Perfect for the reader who desires to taste and smell each scene.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love this book.
If you’re into romance, you’ll not be disappointed.
If broken characters growing and changing in the midst of crisis is why you read, then grab your tissues. This book is especially for you. 

*****

Dorothy Adamek lives in Melbourne with her Beloved and their three gorgeous kids. 
She's the winner of the 2013 FHL ~ Touched By Love Competition, and the 2104 Inspirational Category Winner of the TARA Writing Contest. 

Enamoured by all things 19th century, she writes The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, Historical Romance - Aussie style. Come say G'day at her blog, Ink Dots. 


6 comments:

  1. Dotti, hi.

    Your review sums up the essence of this excellent novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could relate to the struggles the two sisters had in reconnecting and discovering how to forgive and accept each other and themselves. The characters were all so relatable in how they dealt with their "stuff". I'm enjoying reading these contemporary/romance novels that deal with the "stuff" of life.

    Katherine certainly takes the reader on a sensory experience and I enjoyed savouring Lizzy's heightened sense of flavour and aroma.

    I've read a few reviews and a number of people had the same reaction as you did regarding walking through the chemo days again. I imagine it made the reading experience that more emotional and confronting.

    One of the points that struck me about half way through was how little there was of the sisters demonstrating any relationship with Jesus. I would have loved to have discussed this at Book Club as I wondered if I kinda missed something in my reading.

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    1. Hi Ian, I would have liked more of the sister's spiritual journey, too. In book club, we unpacked their relationship with each other and their father, husband, children... more than their relationship with God, because there was less about that in the book to begin with.

      Looking forward to having you join us someday soon. :)

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  2. I mostly enjoyed this book. I'm squeamish when it comes to blood, so there's one scene I *really* didn't like ...

    I read and enjoyed Katherine Reay's first book, Dear Mr Knightley, although not as much as some readers - although the characters and the writing were excellent, it was based on Jean Webster's classic epistolary novel, Daddy Long Legs, which meant I found the plot predictable and the "big reveal" at the end no surprise at all. So I was keen to see what Reay could do with an original story, and was pleased with the result.

    I agree with your comments about the Christian elements. It's published by Thomas Nelson, and they seem to be publishing more books which are written from a Christian world view, but are less obviously "Christian fiction" (however defined), in that the characters are living good moral lives but not necessarily walking with Jesus.

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  3. Dotti, great review! I haven't read this book and it's interesting to hear that the spiritual aspects of the story are on the lighter side. From the book description, I would have presumed the opposite was true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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  4. Yep, another one for the pile - thanks for the great review, Dotti :)

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  5. Yep, another one for the pile - thanks for the great review, Dotti :)

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