Two lonely women. An unlikely friendship. And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .
After a major life upheaval on the eve of her 40th birthday, a reluctant Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily’s tongue is as sharp as her mind but she has lost her spark, simply resigning herself to the Imminent End.
Having no patience with Kate’s plight, 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’.
Will Kate find a menu to help her recover from her broken heart? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?
The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable past, and the story of 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, 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!
My reading experience:
Firstly I would like to thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for my free ARC 🍋
This was a pleasing book to read. I got the lighthearted heartbreak I was expecting, the story of friendship, and then I was given more – a compassionate story of the life of an elderly care home resident called Cecily which included her life as a cookbook writer. This quickly turned into cooking for healing/finding yourself and the reader is treated to elegant descriptions of cooking and baking and eating🍋
I found our protagonist Kate, to be various things – funny, sad, resigned, exasperating but most of all, human. None of us is perfect or makes “good” choices all of the time but often it is through someone else that we can unexpectedly find a new direction. This book demonstrates this perfectly. One thing to take away from this book would be that friendships are found in often the most unlikely places – never dismiss the things a person can bring to your life because of age, gender, race, job or marital status. Or indeed any other reason 🍋
This is a lovely book to read. It recognises the pressure women feel as they get older, the social norms we project on to each other as if one size fits all, and it recognises that life isn’t always charmed. I highly recommend this debut from Vicky Zimmerman 🍋