In her sequel to A Table by the Window, Hillary Manton Lodge writes another recipe-filled installment of Juliette's story. Juliette D'Alisa is overwhelmed. Her mother has cancer, she's opening a new restaurant with her brother, and she's trying to unravel the mystery of her grandmother's past. And a long distance relationship with Neil, who lives across the country? She's just not sure how much she can handle. She loves every moment spent in his presence, but otherwise she is wracked with stress and worry. Is the distance--and differences--between Portland and Memphis too far to overcome?
Before opening this novel, I definitely recommend reading book one first; Reservations for Two begins immediately where A Table by the Window leaves off. The two could really be one thick book instead of separate entities. Plus, there are some incredible recipes that no one should miss out on (Moroccan Lamb Tagine, for one. Mmmmm.)
I love the way the author incorporates recipes with a story. Every recipe included is also mentioned in the story, so for once when reading about some mouthwatering meal or dessert, there's a good chance you can drag the book to your kitchen and whip it up for yourself. And Lodge includes some mighty tasty recipes. I can't wait to try out the ones in this novel!
That said, I wasn't as thrilled with this leg of the saga as in the first. I really enjoyed finding out more about Juliette's grandmother through the letters--it catered nicely to my love of historical fiction. However, it was Juliette's indecision and extreme angst that I had more trouble with. At the end of the first book, it seemed like she had basically figured out what she wanted, but she regresses. If anything, she seems even more insecure in this book. And, not unusual for the second book of a trilogy, the ending left something to be desired (and I am not particularly happy about it). I guess we'll have to wait for book three to see what Juliette ultimately chooses.
I finished the first book feeling hope, but this one left me feeling discontented. It's not one that I would pick up and read by itself--it definitely needs the third book for resolve.
Thank you Blogging for Books for providing a free book to review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.
Two Blue Doors
1. A Table by the Window
2. Reservations for Two
3. (coming May 2016)
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