image from here
This is a book I picked up solely because the cover appealed to me. The premise is that Grace, who is divorced, and lives in L.A. with her fourteen-year-old daughter, Emma, re-examines her life when one of her long-time best friends, Leeza, dies of cancer. Grace is especially encouraged to work on her relationship with her mother, which has been distant since Grace discovered a family secret when she was a teenager.
While there were aspects of the book I really liked, such as the various recipes scattered throughout, and some of the characters, there were times when the book felt quite disjointed. It wasn't always clear how the characters got from one situation to another. Some of the characters, and story lines, felt extraneous and I felt like the author was trying to work too much into the book without being able to get into everything in-depth, which may have explained some of the disjointedness I felt.
I loved seeing Emma mature as a teenager and I also loved the way the recipes were worked into the book. And I really want to try some of them out such as the Blood Orange Sheet Cake and the Cardamom Scones. I would also really like to hang out, or even work, in Tim's book store :) I am also really attracted to the small town appeal of a book like this, without wanting to actually live in a small town!
My favourite line was when Grace and her ex-husband were having a conversation in a butterfly house. "If there were something she could have thrown at him, she would have. But how do you throw a butterfly?" (p. 209).
Sandra Lee, the author, is a food professional, having hosted numerous shows on the Food Network and HGTV. She has also written a number of cookbooks. It makes sense that this, her first novel, revolves around food, and it also really felt like a first novel. However, it was definitely an enjoyable, light read. It would be good for sick day reading or a day at the beach.