ABOUT THE BOOK
Two lonely women. An unlikely friendship. And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .
No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker's first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta.
A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn - spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.
Having no patience with Kate's self-pity, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference - it's a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at 'the easily dismayed'. It promises the answers to essential life questions: 'what shall one give to one's rich aunt Emma that will be palatable but not prodigal; to one's husband's managing director, at once memorable and modest; one's old love's new love; the man one hopes will stay on after dinner; the man one hopes will not ...'.
Can Kate find a menu to help a broken-hearted woman let go? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?
The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily's own remarkable and heartbreaking story, and the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.
So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls - one at the end of her life, and one stuck in the middle - who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man's heart is . . . irrelevant!
published by ZAFFRE
Publication Date - 30th May 2019
Amazon UK £7.74
|What a charming and delightful book! I adored the characters - especially Cecily! - and found it to be one of those books that is heartwarming and inspiring, and even made me shed a tear or two!|
Kate Parker is the main character and her life is seemingly all going swimmingly - she's in a loving relationship with Nick who shares her passion for food and cooking (note - do NOT read this book on an empty stomach!!) and is settled in her work life, but that settled life is soon disrupted by Nick dropping a bombshell while they're away on holiday together and it leaves her feeling very unsettled and very down on life. She moves back in with her mum who is a completely different character to her - very outgoing and free-spirited - who tries setting her up with friends' sons and offering her the advice to stop being the victim and to move on with her life. Kate isn't so sure she's able to and still pines for her and Nick getting back together.
While she has some spare time, a friend gets her to volunteer at a local old people's home - Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies - which is full of some of the most wonderful characters, the most entertaining being 97 year old Cecily! She takes no prisoners and doesn't mince her words and seems to enjoy heckling Kate who takes on the role of cookery demonstrator! Despite their prickly start, they soon form such a wonderful friendship as Cecily takes on the role of life advisor, and lends her an amazing cookbook that combines recipes with great life advice and Kate starts taking the pages of the book to heart.
I loved the scenes between Kate and Cecily and think I need a Cecily in my life! She's wise, witty and wonderful! She shares her own life story with Kate, but also gets Kate to question her own life plan and pushes her to explore different things in life and to stop sitting around waiting for Nick to change his mind and to find her own worth.
What made this story even more touching was that the author based it on her own grandmother and it really added such a wonderful feel to the book, especially with the photos of her grandmother at the end. What a woman and what a story!!
My thanks to Readers First and Zaffre for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.