Thursday, August 28, 2014

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

by Ruth Reichl
narrated by Julia Whelan
May 2014

Book Jacket Summary
In her bestselling memoirs Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee"-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues-the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love

My Thoughts
I have been listening to more audiobooks and I love it! There is just something soothing about having someone read to you while you work on mindless tasks. This was great book to sit back and enjoy over two weeks, it is over thirteen hours long. This was also a perfect book to read for librarians because of hidden letters and a card catalog that contained the clues to which files held the next letter.   

It is not all mystery though but a woman coming to New York to step away from her life and escape a tragedy that has made her have panic attacks at the thought of cooking. She is embraced into a family of eccentrics in both a food magazine publishing company and an old school shop in New york. Billie is ready to leave her past behind but also not ready to embrace the changes that could help her. It is a complicated book but it is more emotions rather than plot. You really feel for Billie and it was fun to watch her transform into someone with more confidence. 

This book had almost everything I love in a book. There is significant character development, mystery, cooking, letters, and a beautiful library. I was actually sad when this one ended because I loved the characters and the setting. New york is so much fun to read about and the restaurants there really are as amazing as Reichl made them sound. This is a highly recommended read and I a not usually a big fan of the standard adult fiction novel. It was just so much more to it than a straight forward romance or divorce story that they cater to the public. I guess it helps that Reichl really is a food critic and worked with major food magazines. Pick it up for a long flight or to laze around the house. Just make sure you have a few snacks handy because this book will make you crave food!   

Book Pairings
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet by

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