Wow. And Yum.
Juliette D’Alisa is the youngest of five children born into a foodie family in Portland, Oregon. Her mother is French, her father Italian, and the whole family is involved in the food business in some way, either as a restaurant owner, chef, or in Juliette’s case, as a food writer for the local newspaper.
A Table by the Window is narrated in the first person, by Juliette, who is currently going through a tough time. Her grandmother has recently died, she’s lamenting the she’s 28 and doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she’s not happy at work. Juliette is a great character. She’s real, and I enjoyed reading about her family, the food, and all the cultural references (although I was a little disturbed to read the reference to the Top Gear presenters as “middle-aged”. Hamster is less than a year older than me. Surely not …).
I loved the writing. Lines like “my pantry had grown to resemble an elitist food bank” appealed to me, as did Juliette’s comments on restaurants:
“The best restaurants [add] … an element of delight. Of surprise. And the worst restaurants do the opposite of that. So I want to guide people to the good ones.”
That reflect my beliefs about book reviews. I want to find books that have that element of delight, to recommend to others who are searching for a good novel that’s a little different to the usual offerings. A Table by the Window certainly passes that test. It’s a mixture of women’s fiction, mystery and romance, and the added recipes only add to the appeal.
I’m looking forward to the sequel which will (I hope) show us a little more about Juliette, Neil, and the family secrets. And hopefully some more recipes. Recommended for fans of authors like Christa Parrish and Meg Mosseley.
Thanks to WaterBrook Press and Blogging for Books for providing a free book for review. You can find out more about Hillary Manton Lodge at her website.