Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes
only when you've run out of ways to escape.
At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She's lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.
When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she's losing her dream.
And her means of escape.
When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister's side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.
As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to re-imagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?
There is a line that appears several times in this book that resonates and sums up the entire story.
"The love needs to be stronger than the like. We're family."Lizzy and Jane are sisters. But unlike the famous Austen sisters whom they are named for, they don't get along. In fact they really don't like each other that much. It wasn't always that way. But with their mother's unsuccessful battle with cancer their family began to splinter until there wasn't anything left to draw them together.
Lizzy has made a life in New York City where she is a successful chef, until recently that is. Her world that used to be filled with magic is crumbling around her. It seems that everything she sets her hands to do turns sour. The joy she used to derive from cooking has become elusive.
Jane is happily married and raising two beautiful kids on the west coast. Her life seems to be happily sailing along when she suddenly gets the diagnosis of cancer. She's determined to fight it and win but she continues to find herself back in that dark place of doubt that she lived in when her mother was dying.
This isn't an overly religious book, but I tended to look at it from a spiritual perspective. This is the story of a fractured family. There's no scandal. There's no horrific rift between the members. There's just an underlying resentment that has been allowed to grow and fester. The irony is that the very thing that drove them apart will now play a large part in their healing. Isn't that just the way God works so many times? He takes our weaknesses and refines them and then uses them to strengthen us. Glory!
If you have a sister this book will speak to you. There's something so deep about that relationship. Your past will always be linked no matter where you go in life. Something about that relationship has the power to wound like no other, but it also has the power to heal. Many times during the reading of this book I felt as if I were looking in a mirror. Many times I've experienced that feeling of loving my sister, but not particularly liking her. Lizzy & Jane is a beautiful story of reflection, repentance and restoration.
Lest you think that this book is all serious and riddled with angst . . . never fear! Just when I thought that I would break out into a weeping fit Katherine Reay would make a hilarious referral to Cold Comfort Farm. Absolutely priceless! (You'll have to look that reference up on your own!) I completely enjoyed her first book, Dear Mr. Knightley but this second book of hers is every bit as good if not better. I can't wait to read her next offering.
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